Flushing, NY: Luis Castillo arrived again as that big game pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds and Tuesday night at Citi Field he held the Mets in check with a solid 6 2/3rd innings. Though it went as a no-decision the right-hander and considered ace of the Reds’ rotation continued to lead NL starters with a 1.45 ERA.
He struck out seven. In the crowd of 20,836 were friends from the Dominican Republic, his wife,a brother, and he heard them cheer each time leaving and entering the opposing dugout.
The Mets would eventually win 4-3 in 10-innings with a Jeff McNeil sacrifice fly to right, their first walk-off win of the season. Innings after Castillo departed the Reds rallied with two outs in the ninth inning off Jeurys Familia that put the game in extra innings.
But the story this night for the Reds was the continued development of their starter. Castillo was effective again with the changeup and curve ball. The 26-year old from Bani, Dominican Republic entered this start with a 10-inning scoreless streak that tied his career high.
The blemish was a seventh inning home run ball to Todd Frazier off a fastball over the left-center field fence that gave the Mets a one-run lead. It was the second home run ball that Castillo has thrown this season.
So this quality pitcher has arrived for the Reds.
“I think its more like working mental and physical,” he said through a translator about the success. “The mental part of the game is carrying over. Big difference for me is experience and processing the information and the mental.”
Mental or not, this was his third-consecutive quality start. The 12.0 scoreless inning streak was snapped by a Jeff McNeil single in the third inning. Castillo has struck out at least seven in six of his seven starts which ties for the most in the majors along with the Nationals’ Max Scherzer.
And he has allowed two or fewer earned runs in a league leading 12 consecutive starts dating back to September of last year.
“He may have had his best stuff all year,” manager David Bell said. “Pitch to Frazier to give up the lead you could not ask for more. He continues to do the job for us. The changeup, the fastball. He’s pitching with confidence.”
About that confidence he said, “Of course I am facing the best hitters in baseball. It’s not about me. It’s about the team.”
He said about the Frazier home run, off bis first pitch, “It caught too much plate and he hit it for a homer. I was commanding my pitches tonight. Everything was good.”
In his last 12 appearances, Castillo leads all Major League pitchers in ERA and is tied in wins with six. He is tied for 9th in strikeouts and 17th in innings pitched. And his efforts have also helped the Reds starting rotation which continues to rank second in the National League and fourth in the Major Leagues.
On this night, though the Reds Lost, he may have had his best stuff of the season. Game three of four is tomorrow night at Citi Field as the two teams have split the first two.
NOTES: Jose Peraza, 1-for-4 tied the game for the Reds with that two-out single in the ninth off Familia. That extended his hitting streak to a season high five games He has hit safely in seven straight games against the Mets…
Eugenio Suarez 1-5, home run, tied the game at one with a home run in the sixth for his seventh home run of the season…
Amed Rosario 2-for-3 tallied his fifth multi-hit game of the season for the Mets and has reached base in a career-best 14-straight games.
Jason Vargas 5.1 innings pitched tossed a season high 5.1 innings and struck out a season high five batters for the Mets. He has a 1.93 ERA over his last three starts and did not figure in the decision.
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