CINCINNATI (AP) — Luis Castillo pitched six effective innings, Tyler Stephenson homered to give the Reds a cushion they ended up needing, and Cincinnati held on to beat the Minnesota Twins 6-5 on Wednesday.
Jonathan India had three hits and Joey Votto drove in two runs for the Reds, who are hoping to make up ground in the playoff chase during a six-game homestand against last-place teams.
“We’ve got the Pirates coming,” Stephenson said. “These are important games ahead.”
Castillo (6-10) allowed Jorge Polanco’s first-inning solo homer but settled in nicely from there, allowing six hits and one walk while striking out seven to win his third straight start.
“Early on, he had trouble locating his changeup, but after that, he settled in and made pitches when he needed to, which was awesome,” said Stephenson, the catcher.
Stephenson went deep to the batter’s eye in left-center to give the Reds a 6-1 lead in the seventh.
“Obviously, we would’ve liked to have held the score the way it was after the home run,” Stephenson said. “It just kind of fell in that way.”
The Twins then sent nine batters to the plate in a four-run eighth. Trevor Larnach drove in two with a double, Miguel Sanó had an RBI double and Ryan Jeffers added a run-scoring single.
Michael Lorenzen came in for a five-out save, his first of the season after making just one appearance over the first three months because of injuries.
“It’s just fun, honestly, competing,” Lorenzen said. “Doesn’t matter the inning, doesn’t matter the situation. I didn’t realize we were only up one. I don’t know when I realized it.”
Twins rookie Charlie Barnes (0-2) allowed five runs on seven hits and two walks in four innings in his second career start.
The Reds scored all their runs with two outs. They strung together three run-scoring hits to take a 4-1 lead in the third. Votto followed Kyle Farmer’s RBI single with a two-run double and scored on Stephenson’s single.
“We’ve got to find a way to finish innings,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “That’s a fact.”
Castillo got help from shortstop Farmer to get out of the sixth. With runners on first and second and nobody out, Farmer took a throw from India at second and executed a 360-degree turn before relaying to Votto at first for a double play.
India’s leadoff single in the bottom of the first boosted the rookie’s first inning batting average to .388.
Polanco’s home run extended his season-high hitting streak to eight games (14 for 37, .378, two doubles, four home runs).
Fireworks normally saved by the Reds for home runs and wins were set off when Farmer drove in Shogo Akiyama with Cincinnati’s first run in the third.
Reds: All-Star OF Nick Castellanos (right wrist) took close to a half-hour of batting practice Wednesday and manager David Bell said he “might be a day away” from returning. The NL batting leader at .329 went on the 10-day injured list on July 22.
Reds: RHP Sonny Gray (3-6, 4.26) starts Thursday’s opener of a four-game series against last-place Pittsburgh.