McCoy: Castellanos clubs grand slam, rallies Reds past Phillies

Right fielder drives in 7 runs in 12-4 win

The flair for the dramatic shown this season by Nick Castellanos reached a crashing crescendo Monday night in Great American Ball Park.

His grand slam home run in the seventh inning lifted the Cincinnati Reds from two runs down to a two-run lead and an eventual 12-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Down 4-2 entering the seventh, the Reds scored 10 runs over the seventh and eighth, ignited by the Castellanos home run. He finished the night with seven RBI.

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Castellanos was not electric this night, he was the entire power grid.

The Castellanos home run, his sixth career grand slam, was the punctuation mark on the seventh inning that was full of noteworthiness.

It began with one out when manager David Bell sent Alejo Lopez to the plate as a pinch-hitter. It was his major league debut after his recall from Triple-A Louisville.

On the first pitch he saw in a major league uniform, Lopez blooped a broken-bat single to right field.

Amazingly, when Lopez made his Triple-A debut earlier this season his first at bat was a pinch-hit single on the first pitch he saw.

Philadelphia manager Joe Girardi thought it was time to insert Neftali Feliz into the game.

The significance? Feliz had not appeared in a major league game in five years and since 2017 has been pitching in the Dominican Republic.

He struck out Jonathan India for the second out. But he walked pinch-hitter Aristides Aquino on four pitches. He had Jesse Winker with two strikes and hit him with a pitch to fill the bases.

Castellanos lined the first pitch over the third base bag, foul by a foot. Then he unloaded his grand slam over the left center wall.

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“Right after the foul ball, I thought, ‘Crap, that was close,’” said Castellanos. “I had to re-lock it in. I saw his off-speed, saw his slider, so I really felt comfortable going into that next pitch looking for a fastball. I don’t want to say I guessed, but I was looking for a fastball.”

That’s what he got and Feliz needed a new baseball because the one he pitched was literally slammed.

As Reds starting pitcher Wade Miley said, “Six grand slams? That’s stinkin’ impressive.”

And seven RBI? Castellanos, of course, put into a perspective.

“Yeah, if one person can drive in seven runs, you probably are going to end up with a victory,” he said. “Tyler Naquin did it at the beginning of the year and we won the game.”

It was the 22nd time this season the Philadelphia bullpen has blown a lead late in the game.

The Phillies bullpen poured gasoline on the conflagration in the eighth when the Reds scored six more runs, two when pitcher Enyel De Los Santos picked up a bunt by Kyle Farmer and threw the ball into left field.

And, of course, Castellanos struck again, a run-scoring double to give him seven

RBI and 50 for the season. Then Joey Votto connected for a home run, his 999th career RBI.

Castellanos had a two-run single in the third inning to give the Reds a 2-0 lead.

The Phillies scored four runs off Reds starter Wade Miley, two in the fourth and two more in the fifth to take a 4-2 lead.

And that’s where it stood until Castellanos did his deed as the crowd began chanting, “MVP, MVP, MVP.”

“Uh. . .cool, I’m not going to lie,” he said. “Inspiring. It’s fun, man. It’s fun.”

Castellanos was appreciative of the raw rookie, Lopez, beginning the rally with his one-out single.

“Kudos to him, man. That was the first thing I said after I hit the grand slam,” said Castellanos. “I tapped him on the chest and said, ‘Congrats. That’s awesome.’ I remember my first hit like it was yesterday. Everything goes by real fast. You blink a couple times and you are in the middle of your eighth or ninth year. It goes by quick, man.

“So you try to cherish these experiences as they come,” he added.

The game was a makeup from a game rained out June 2, one day after the Phillies had clubbed and clobbered the Reds, 17-3.

With the Phillies flicked aside, the Reds turn their attention to their next three games and retribution. The San Diego Padres come to town. When last seen, the Padres whipped the Reds four straight in San Diego.

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