Votto, Castellanos star in Game 162 victory

Bell: 'We have a lot to look forward to, a lot to build on'

October 3rd, 2021

PITTSBURGH -- The Reds appeared to be running on fumes the final week of the season after being eliminated from the postseason. But Joey Votto and Nick Castellanos helped get them to the finish line with a win in Game 162 during a 6-3 victory over the Pirates on Sunday at PNC Park. 

Votto slugged a three-run homer -- his 36th of season -- in the top of the fifth inning, one shy of his career high. Castellanos hit an RBI double to reach 100 RBIs in a season for the second time in his career, and also one shy of his career high. Cincinnati finished its final road trip 1-4, but ended 2021 with an 83-79 record.

“It feels great to get a win,” Reds manager David Bell said. “Last day of the year, guys have been battling this road trip to do everything we can to get a couple of wins; it hadn’t gone well. To get a win on the last day and do it the way we did it -- a lot of individual efforts, a lot of guys that have had great seasons and all that were able to finish strong.”

In his second big league start, Reds rookie lefty Reiver Sanmartin allowed one run and seven hits over six innings with one walk and six strikeouts.

Sanmartin didn’t have an easy time during the bottom of the first inning. His first three batters reached on hits and a bases-loaded, one-out walk to Anthony Alford forced home a run. But Sanmartin picked up a Ben Gamel double play to escape further damage.

“I was very fortunate and very happy that I was able to get out of that inning,” Sanmartin said via translator Jorge Merlos. “Obviously, it was bases loaded, nobody out. I was just able to get through it. I was very excited to just be able to get through it and be able to get through the outing, too.”

“To get out of the first inning the way he did and then pitch the rest of the game was just really impressive. That really set the tone for today’s game,” Bell said.

Against Pirates starter Mitch Keller, Castellanos notched his 100th RBI with a two-out double in the third inning that scored Jonathan India. In the bottom of the third, Castellanos made a nice leaping catch at the fence to take a hit from Yoshi Tsutsugo.

“You look at Nick, he works incredibly hard,” Bell said. “He goes out, plays to win every night and kind of the stats and results just follow. Whenever you have an opportunity to reach a number like that, it’s a big number. Even though he’s unselfish, to reach that meant a lot to him; I know it did -- and it meant a lot to our team. It was another great thing that happened today.”

Cincinnati pounced on reliever Cody Ponce in the fifth inning on a rally that began with India being hit by a pitch for a National League-leading 23rd time.

Max Schrock followed India with a double, before Aristides Aquino -- who replaced Castellanos in the fourth inning -- hit an RBI single. The big hit belonged to Votto, who slugged his homer to right field on an 0-1 Ponce pitch to make it a 5-1 game.

Votto finished his resurgent season with 36 homers and 99 RBIs.

Aquino notched his 10th homer with a two-out solo drive to right-center field in the sixth on a 3-0 Anthony Banda pitch.

The Reds were eliminated from postseason play Tuesday as they endured a fade that left them with a 14-22 record over their final 36 games. After some rest, they must prepare to retool and try again in 2022.

“We didn’t reach our ultimate goal; that’s no secret, no doubt about it,” Bell said. “On the other hand, just incredible sacrifices and effort from the beginning of Spring Training all the way through the end of the year. Guys gave everything they had. To get through a Major League season and have the amount of success that individual players on our team had, to put ourselves in a position that we did, every single guy on this team should be very proud of that.

“We have a lot to look forward to, a lot to build on. Even though we’re already looking forward to that, it’s time to get away now and to rest, recover, spend time with family and we’ll get back after it when the time is right.”