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Reds, Castillo win opener but Pirates beat Bauer in nightcap

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Pirates took advantage of an uncharacteristically average performance by Cincinnati’s Trevor Bauer to earn a doubleheader split with a 4-3 win in the nightcap on Friday.
The Reds took the opener 4-2 behind the strength of Luis Castillo, who picked up his first victory in nearly a year when he worked six solid innings.
Cincinnati, however, missed a chance to sweep a doubleheader for the third time this season when the Pirates scrounged up just enough offense against Bauer.
Recently acquired outfielder Anthony Alford hit a two-run triple off Bauer in the fourth and then tied the game when Bauer’s second wild pitch of the season briefly skipped out of reach of catcher Tucker Barnhart. The ball didn’t leave the dirt surrounding the batter’s box but gave the speedy Alford — claimed off waivers from Toronto last week — all the time he needed to race home.
Bauer (3-3) allowed four runs but his ERA actually dropped from 2.13 to 2.05 after an error by first baseman Joey Votto that opened up the door for three unearned runs to cross the plate in the fourth. Bauer surrendered six hits against two walks and seven strikeouts.
Rookie third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes had two hits for the Pirates. Kevin Newman singled off Bauer leading off the fifth, moved to third on Adam Frazier’s single and put Pittsburgh in front when he scored on a double play.
Sam Howard (2-1) picked up the win in relief of starter Cody Ponce. Richard Rodriguez worked a perfect seventh for his third save. Nik Turley escaped a two-on, two-out situation in the sixth when he struck out pinch-hitter Matt Davidson.
The Reds hit second rather than first in Game 2, a quirk of the schedule necessitated by the postponement of two games in Cincinnati last month after a Reds player tested positive for COVID-19.
CASTILLO BREAKS THROUGH
Castillo (1-5) collected his first victory since Sept. 13, 2019 when he kept the Pirates in check in the opener. The 27-year-old, a 15-game winner and an All-Star last season, had dropped seven straight decisions dating back to last season.
“Going into a game, you have to have that confidence to win the game, regardless,” Castillo said via an interpreter. “So for me, it’s important that we win and especially if I’m going in and saying, ‘OK, I’m going to win this game and my team is going to win as well.’ So it’s important for me.”
Nick Castellanos hit his 11th home run for the Reds, a solo shot off Steven Brault (0-2) that gave Castillo the kind of support he’s lacked most of this season. Entering Friday, the Reds had scored two wwruns or less in five of Castillo’s seven starts. Raisel Iglesias pitched the seventh for his fifth save.
Gregory Polanco doubled twice and drove in a run for Pittsburgh. Colin Moran added two hits and an RBI but the Pirates lost for the sixth time in their last eight games when they failed to take full advantage of early opportunities against Castillo. The Pirates put runners on second and third with no outs in the second and didn’t score and failed to cross the plate after consecutive singles leading off the fourth.
Castillo grew stronger as he went along. He retired eight of the last nine batters he faced and his 93rd and final pitch was a 98 mph fastball at the knees that caught Pittsburgh’s Cole Tucker looking.
DESHIELDS OUT
Cincinnati first base coach Delino DeShields will miss the series with the Pirates while tending to a personal matter. Willie Harris, who had been working at the team’s alternate training site, will fill in.
TRAINER’S ROOM
Reds: RHP Sonny Gray’s next start was pushed at least two days as precaution to give him a little bit more rest. Gray was scheduled to start on Sunday but manager David Bell said Gray will instead start at some point during a three-game series with the Cubs next week. Gray endured his shortest start of the season on Tuesday against St. Louis, allowing six runs while failing to make it out of the first inning.
Pirates: RHP Mitch Keller (strained lat) threw two innings (35 pitches) of a simulated game on Friday. Manager Derek Shelton said it’s uncertain what the next step will be for Keller. … RHP Jameson Taillon (Tommy John) threw 20 pitches of live batting practice.
UP NEXT
Reds: Anthony DeSclafani (1-2, 7.71 ERA) will try to bounce back from a rough start against St. Louis when he takes the hill on Saturday. DeSclafani gave up seven runs in 3 2/3 innings in a 7-5 loss to the Cardinals.
Pirates: Trevor Williams (1-5, 5.50) is 6-2 with a 3.13 ERA in 13 appearances (10 starts) against the Reds.