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Thursday January 20th, 2022 2:42AM

Luis Castillo strong again as Reds beat Braves 4-1

By The Associated Press
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CINCINNATI (AP) — Luis Castillo pitched seven scoreless innings and Jesse Winker homered before departing with a hip injury, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday.

Castillo (3-10) permitted six hits, struck out six and walked two while improving to 2-2 with a 1.71 ERA in five June starts. The right-hander posted a 7.22 ERA through his first 11 starts of the year.

“His stuff was electric,” Reds manager David Bell said, “but so was his attack.”

Winker was 0 for 7 in the series before connecting for his 18th homer in the first. He grounded out to end the fifth and then left the game.

He was diagnosed with a right hip contusion and replaced by Shogo Akiyama.

“My hip was tightening up a little bit,” Winker said. “I am fine. I’d like to see how it feels tomorrow before I say I can play.”

Winker might have aggravated his hip making a diving attempt for Ronald Acuña Jr.'s double in the third.

Nick Castellanos extended his home hitting streak to 18 games with an RBI double in the third. Joey Votto added an RBI single, and Tyler Stephenson went deep in the eighth.

Atlanta right-hander Ian Anderson (5-4) allowed five hits, struck out nine and walked one in six innings. Anderson pitched six scoreless innings against the Reds in last year’s NL Wild Card series.

“He did a good job, it’s a tough offense to navigate,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He pitched well enough to win.”

The Reds’ defense helped Castillo when Jonathan India threw out Guillermo Heredia trying to score from first on William Contreras’ double to end the sixth.

Stephenson homered off Edgar Santana. It was his third career pinch-hit homer.

Amir Garrett got three outs for his fifth save.

RISPY BUSINESS

The Braves are 2 for 18 with runners in scoring position in the series, after going 1 for 8 on Saturday.

“We’ve putting up good ABs,” said third baseman Austin Riley, who lined out to end the third with runners at first and third. “It’s frustrating. Mine, first and third, line drive to third base. What can you do?”

The Braves left 10 runners on base.

“We’re having a hard time stringing hits together,” Snitker said. “We’re making good contact.”

TRAINERS ROOM

Braves: RHP Mike Soroka will have season-ending surgery after an MRI revealed a complete re-tear of his right Achilles tendon. Soroka originally tore the tendon on Aug. 3 while covering first base. On May 17, he had exploratory surgery which indicated the tendon was healing properly.

Reds: RHP Tejay Antone, who missed 11 games with right forearm inflammation before returning on Monday, is back on the 10-day injured list with a right forearm strain. LHP Cionel Perez was recalled from Triple-A Louisville. ... RHP Sonny Gray was scheduled to make a rehab start at Louisville on Saturday. He is expected to rejoin the Reds’ rotation soon.

UP NEXT

The Reds look to win the series behind right-hander Tyler Mahle, who ranks fifth in the NL with 11.26 strikeouts per nine innings, is looking to improve at Great American Ball Park, where he has a 6.93 ERA in five starts as compared to 2.01 on the road. Left-hander Kyle Muller (0-1, 5.40 ERA) will make his second career start for Atlanta.

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