Disastrous start leaves Reds with 11-6 loss in opener

Published 11:55 pm Thursday, April 1, 2021

Jim Walker

CINCINNATI — “Like a touchdown pass in overtime
Like a thunderbolt from a clear blue sky
Like a knockout punch sends a man to the mat
Boom! It was over, just like that”
• From the song by Robert Ellis Orrall.
And now, the Luis Castillo version:
“Like the fastballs I threw were out of gas
And the curveballs I threw just all went flat
I was hoping to get our team started fast
But Boom! It was over just like that.”
With optimism a plenty, and the excitement buzzing throughout Great American Ball Park on Thursday for the Cincinnati Reds as they faced the St. Louis Cardinals in the season opener, it all came to a screeching halt in the top of the first inning.
St. Louis scored six runs to start the game and the Reds unsuccessfully played catch up the rest of the game as they lost 11-6.
In a rare bad outing by the Reds’ right-hander, Castillo worked just 3.1 innings and was roughed up for eight hits, 10 runs of which eight were earned, walked two, hit a batter, threw a wild pitch and did not record a strikeout.
“I don’t think we were specifically trying to throw fastballs early in the count and trying to mix in pitches afterwards,” said Castillo through translator Jorge Merlos.
“I think we were trying to mix them all at the same time. It didn’t work out today, our plan. There’s always the next day that we’ll try to get them.”
Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty wasn’t a lot better. He last just 4.1 innings and gave up the six runs — all earned — as he walked two, stuck out four, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch.
Giovanny Gallegos — the fourth of five St. Louis’ relievers — got the win.
Paul Goldschmidt had a big day for the Cardinals as he went 4-for-5 with two doubles and got the offensive fireworks started as the second batter of the game.
Goldschmidt hit a ball off the top of the fence in right field that was temporarily ruled a home run until a review left him with a double. Nolan Arenado got an infield hit in his first at-bat as a Cardinal and Paul DeJong singled for a run.
Yadier Molina reached on an error by Eugenio Suarez making his first start at shortstop and two more runs scored. Rookie Dylan Carlson capped the rally with a 3-run homer.
“A really good, firm punch right there at the beginning coming at you,” said Cardinals’ manager Mike Shildt. “Really good inning. Lots of situational hitting.”
The Reds got a run in the bottom of the first when Jesse Winker doubled, took third on Nick Castellanos fly out to right out and then scored on a wild pitch.
Castellanos just missed extra bases as Cardinals’ rightfielder Justin Williams made a nice running catch as he leaped into the air on the warning to grab the ball that was over his head.
The lead went to 7-1 in the second when Goldschmidt got an infield hit to short and took second on an errant throw by Suarez and scored on Arenado’s line drive single to center.
Castellanos got the Reds two runs in the third when he hit a 2-out home run with Tucker Barnhart on base after being hit with a pitch.
But St. Louis answered with four more runs in the fourth to lead 11-3.
Flaherty walked, Tommy Edman singled on a soft roller along the first baseline and Castillo couldn’t handle cleanly.
Goldschmidt singled for an RBI, Castillo uncorked a wild pitch scoring Edman and Tyler O’Neill smacked a 2-run homer.
“A lot of different guys drove in runs today and that’s what it’s going to take for us to be successful,” said Goldschmidt.
Suarez belted a solo home run into the bullpen in right field in the bottom of the inning and it was 11-4.
The Reds got two runs in the bottom of the fifth as they tried to make it interesting.
With one out, Winker walked and Castellanos doubled to put runners at second and third. Joey Votto then lined a singled to center field for a run and Suarez walked to load the bases and chase Flaherty.
Mike Moustakas hit a sacrifice fly but Arisides Aquino popped out to Arenado at third base to end the rally.
Both teams had 10 hits but the Cardinals left only three runners on base and the Reds stranded nine.
“A lot of hard-hit balls,” said Reds’ manager David Bell. “Offensively, it was a really solid day. We were one swing from getting back in the game a few different times. Offensively, we did our part and almost got back into the game.”
The Reds threatened in the sixth on singles by Jonathan India, Tyler Stephenson and Winker to load the bases only to have Castellanos hit a line drive to leftfielder O’Neill who then threw to second base to double off Stephenson who failed to tag up.
“We score right there, it’s 7-11,” said Castellanos who was 3-for-5 and two RBI.
“Joey and Suarez and (Moustakas) are coming up against a guy who’s struggling a little bit (trying to) catch a rhythm and a feel. Who knows? If they (get) on, or even if they get a hit, that can change the game, put us within striking distance. It’s amazing in this game. The little things really add up and add up to big things at the end of the day.”
Suarez and Moustakas drew one-out walks in the seventh but Aquino and India both flied out.
Castellanos singled to start the ninth and went to second on defensive indifference. Moustakas walked with two outs and both runners advanced on defensive indifference. But Aquino struck out to end the game.
Joey Votto popped out twice in the infield which is something he hasn’t done since Sept. 22, 2008, of his rookie season. The fifth inning RBI leaves Votto 33 shy of 1,000 for his career and the hit has him just 91 from 2,000 for his career. He needs five home runs to reach 300.
Nick Senzel made an outstanding diving catch to rob Arenado in the fourth inning but hurt his shoulder and had to leave the game. Bell said Senzel will probably be ready to play on Saturday against the Cardinals in their 3 p.m. game.
On the 10-day disabled list retroactive to March 29 are outfielder Shogo Akiyama (hamstring), starting pitcher Sonny Gray (back spasms) and pitcher Michael Lorenzen (shoulder).
India’s start at second base was the first Opening Day start by a rookie at second since 1963 when Pete Rose went on to win Rookie of the Year honors. India was 2-for-4 and doubled for his first career hit.
A crowd of about 12,000 were in attendance as the Reds played their Opening Day game in 37 degrees at first pitch, the coldest opening day temperature in the team’s 152-year history.
Saturday’s pitching matchup will have the Reds’ Tyler Mahle going against the Cardinals Adam Wainwright.

Reds’ boxscore
Cardinals 11, Reds 6
St. Louis Cincinnati
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Edman 2b 5 1 1 0 Winker 4 2 2 0
Gldschmit 1b 5 3 4 1 Doolittle p 0 0 0 0
Arenado 3b 5 1 2 1 Castellnos rf 5 2 3 2
DeJong ss 5 1 1 1 Votto 1b 5 0 1 1
O’Neill lf 4 2 1 2 Suarez ss 3 1 1 1
Molina c 4 1 0 1 Moustaks 3b 2 0 0 1
Carlson cf 3 1 1 3 Senzel cf 1 0 0 0
JWilliams rf 4 0 0 0 Naquin cf 1 0 0 0
Flaherty p 1 1 0 0 Aquino cf 3 0 0 0
Webb p 0 0 0 0 India 2b 4 0 2 0
Heisley p 0 0 0 0 Barnhart c 1 1 0 0
GCabrera p 0 0 0 0 Romano p 0 0 0 0
Carpenter ph 1 0 0 0 Blandino ph 1 0 0 0
Gallegos p 0 0 0 0 Fulmer p 0 0 0 0
Reyes p 0 0 0 0 Castillo p 0 0 0 0
Bedrosian p 0 0 0 0
Stephnson c 3 0 1 0
Totals 37 11 10 9 Totals 34 6 10 5

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St. Louis 610 400 000 = 11
Cincinnati 102 120 000 = 6

E—Suarez 2 (2). LOB—St. Louis 3, Cincinnati 9. 2B—Goldschmidt 2, Winker, India, Castellanos HR—Carlson (1), Castellanos (1), Suarez (1). SF—Moustakas (1). S—Castillo (1).

St. Louis
Flaherty 4.1 6 6 6 2 4
Webb 0.2 0 0 0 0 0
Heisley 1.0 3 0 0 0 1
G.Cabrera 1.0 0 0 0 2 0
Gallegos, W 1-0 1.0 0 0 0 0 2
A. Reyes 10 1 0 0 1 1
Castillo L,0-1 3.1 8 10 8 2 0
Bedrosian 0.2 1 1 1 0 1
Romano 2.0 0 0 0 1 2
C.Fulmer 2.0 0 0 0 0 2
Doolittle 1.0 1 0 0 0 2
WP–Flaherty, Castillo
HBP_O’Neill (by Castillo); Barnhart (by Flaherty)
Umpires—Home, Jim Reynolds; 1B Tony Randazzo; 2B Todd Tichenor; 3B Chad Whitson
T—3:31. A—12,000 (42,319). Temperature: 37