CINCINNATI -- Starlin Castro's first home run of the season was a key one for him and the Marlins: It was the long-awaited 100th long ball of his career and one that gave a badly needed boost to Miami's lineup in Saturday's 6-0 win over the Reds at Great American Ball Park.
The Marlins' bats had been scuffling lately, with three total runs in the previous three games. But with Marlins manager Don Mattingly running out his 28th different lineup in 32 games, the offense got going early.
After Martin Prado singled up the middle, Castro worked a 2-2 count against Reds starter Tyler Mahle and barreled a high slider over the left-center fence. The ball left his bat at 100 mph and traveled an estimated 396 feet, according to Statcast™.
"I hit it pretty good, but I didn't know if it was gone," Castro said. "It's a pretty good ballpark to hit, so when I saw the center fielder run, I said, 'No way he's gonna get that ball.' It goes over the fence, and finally I get that."
Castro had been stuck on 99 home runs for 145 plate appearances and last went deep on Sept. 27, 2017. But in a moment of serendipity, the wait finally ended in the same park he hit his first career home run -- in his first at-bat on May 7, 2010, when he was with the Cubs.
The home run was also Castro's first in a Marlins uniform -- he was dealt from the Yankees in the Giancarlo Stanton trade last offseason -- and his teammates had fun with it. Not only did they give him the silent treatment when he returned to the dugout, but they high-fived each other.
"I know that's going to happen," Castro said. "The same thing happened when I had the first homer. When I have a long time when I don't hit a homer in the season, the team always does that. It's unbelievable here because they don't give high-fives, they wait like an inning. It's fun."
Although it took him this long to hit his first home run, Castro has been doing everything else well at the plate. His .308 average and .363 on-base percentage are on pace to be career bests, as is his 8.9 percent walk rate. He added an RBI double during the eighth inning.
"I've been squaring the ball pretty good," Castro said. "I think I hit a ball harder than the one I hit today. I think it's good. I don't try to put pressure on myself. A lot of guys in here are like, 'When are you gonna hit a homer? When's the 100th homer? Come on, let's go.' I said, 'Easy, they're going to come.' I don't want to put pressure on myself. Finally that day is today, and I feel really happy."