The Reds’ Nick Senzel drives in two runs with a single in the fifth against the Astros on Monday, June 17, 2019, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Castillo earns seventh victory as Reds beat Astros

Senzel’s two-run single the big hit in fifth inning

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“I think we’re all a confident group,” Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart said Friday. “I don’t think there’s anybody in here who’s thrown in the towel. A streak at any point in the year would be great.”

Entering Monday, the Reds had won back-to-back games once in the previous 24 games. Their longest winning streak all season is four games, and they have two other streaks of three straight victories.

A 3-2 victory on Monday against the Houston Astros at Great American Ball Park does not mean the Reds, who now own a modest two-game winning streak, have turned the corner. They just had to have this game with ace Luis Castillo on the mound to have a chance to win a series against one of baseball’s best teams.

Castillo allowed two earned runs on two hits in six innings. He walked six and struck out seven. That was enough for him to earn his seventh victory in 15 starts. His ERA climbed from 2.20 to 2.26.

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The Reds scored all three of their runs in the fifth. Castillo helped make it possible, laying down a sacrifice bunt to move runners to second and third with one out. Nick Senzel followed with a two-run single. Eugenio Suarez drove in the third run with a single.

The Astros scored twice in the seventh. They had a chance to tie the game on a double by Michael Brantly but elected not to challenge the arm of Reds right fielder Yasiel Puig, holding Alex Bregman at third. Yordan Alvarez then flew out to Puig to end the threat.

The Reds improved to 32-38, moving into fourth place in the National League Central, a half game ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Astros, making their first visit to Cincinnati as an American League team, fell to 48-25.

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