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Reds take advantage of Cubs' misplays

@Russ_Dorsey1
July 16, 2019

CHICAGO -- Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, but the Reds had a little bit of both on their side in Monday’s 6-3 comeback victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. After trailing early, the Reds got some help fom the Cubs as they fought their way back.

CHICAGO -- Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, but the Reds had a little bit of both on their side in Monday’s 6-3 comeback victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

After trailing early, the Reds got some help fom the Cubs as they fought their way back.

Box score

Curt Casali opened the seventh inning with a homer that tied the score at 3, and after Jesse Winker hit a single off the bench, the Cubs started to fall apart defensively.

Cubs shortstop Javier Baez misplayed a Nick Senzel ground ball, allowing Winker to move to second base.

There was more good fortune to come, as David Bote bobbled a Eugenio Suárez grounder two batters later, allowing Winker to score and give the Reds a 4-3 lead.

In the eighth, after his pop foul fell between Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo and catcher Victor Caratini, pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer added an RBI double to extend the lead. All three of Cincinnati’s pinch-hitters -- Phillip Ervin, Farmer and Winker -- had a hit and a run scored in the game.

“It takes the entire team, but the guys coming off the bench recently and tonight was a great example,” manager David Bell said. “Three hits off the bench. Phillip, Farmer had a big hit.”

The seventh-inning comeback wouldn’t have happened without a valiant effort a half-inning prior from ace Luis Castillo, who continues to show the baseball world how good he is.

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Castillo looked to have things under control through his five innings of work despite trailing, 3-2, but he started to run out of gas as he worked himself into a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the bottom of the sixth inning, leading to a crucial mound visit from Casali.

“I’m not trying to relax him in that situation,” Casali said. “I’m trying to get him going. I’m trying to challenge him. They call it the 'Friendly Confines,' but it’s not friendly. It’s a tough place to play and a tough place to pitch. Basically tried to get him to bear down as much as he can and make quality pitches.”

Castillo did just that, responding with back-to-back strikeouts of Bote and Robel Garcia to end the threat.

“I think my mindset changed,” Castillo said through interpreter Julio Morillo. “I love when that happens in those situations, because I think that’s when you grow as a pitcher.”

In a situation where most managers would likely remove their young starter, Bell trusted Castillo to get himself out of the jam. Bell's trust has grown with each performance the right-hander makes.

“That’s a good way to describe it,” Bell said. “We’ve all seen his development. He’s never going to give in. Even when he’s been fatigued, he has the pitches to get outs in spots like that. He’s done that on a few occasions this year where right at the end of his night, he goes out there and he just continues to make pitches. It’s pretty impressive.”

Castillo was dominant, as the signature changeup that baffled hitters during the season's first half continued to be effective. He struck out 10 batters for just the second time this season, with six of the K's coming via the changeup. He also induced swings-and-misses on 26 of his 105 pitches.

“When that’s happening, you know your pitches are doing what they are supposed to be doing. Especially with my changeup,” he said. “They can’t just be sitting on that pitch, because they know I can throw another pitch. That’s when I know my pitches are going great.

“I think the All-Star break, when you have a couple of days off, you come back stronger. It’s a long season. I think that rest is important for every player.”

Caution with Casali

Casali left the game in the eighth inning with inflammation in his right knee and is considered day to day.

“I’ve just been dealing with some inflammation in my right knee. Just aggravated it a little more tonight,” Casali said. “We did all the tests. Everything is intact. It’s just one of those things I have to manage from now on. More of a nuisance than anything.”

Russell Dorsey is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Chicago. Follow him on Twitter @Russ_Dorsey1.