The Reds shook off three straight losses to the red hot Pittsburgh Pirates, who were on their way to 11 straight wins to start the 10-game homestand. The Reds finished by taking three straight from the National League East leading Philadelphia Phillies in a 4-0 win.
Castillo was less than perfect, allowing singles in each of the first four innings plus a walk. Even though the leadoff man reached in the third and fourth. Castillo shut down the Phillies. Eugenio Suarez started a 5-4-3 double play in the fourth.
The Reds' right-hander retired the Phillies in order in the fifth inning. The Reds were in need of a longer outing from its starter.
"We got what we needed and then some," Jim Riggleman said. "That's a very good lineup he's facing over there. To throw zeroes up there for seven innings, is impressive."
Castillo has been working on his arm angle with pitching coach Danny Darwin. The Reds have also talked to their starters about getting through opponents batting order for the third time.
"I've been working on my arm angle with the pitching coach," Castillo said through interpreter Julio Murillo. "I was working on it and focused on it today. With my old arm angle I felt my wrist was staying behind. I feel my arm is quicker with this arm angle."
It was important for Castillo to pitch deep into the game.
"As soon as you step across the white line you want to pitch a complete game but the manager makes the decision and I respect it," Castillo said. "When you pitch seven innings you know its close to get out of the game. You throw every thing you can. You execute the game plan but the third time through the lineup you try to change the approach and start them with a different pitch. That was the key today. I'm going to do more of it moving forward."
It saved some wear and tear on the bullpen but it was important for the young pitcher's development to get to seven innings.
Singles by Mason Williams and Adam Duvall, leading off the sixth inning set up Ervin's sacrifice fly to increase the lead.
Ervin had a big hand in both scoring innings.
"It is always to get the opportunity and help the team win when you get the chance," said Ervin, who is getting extended time in the big leagues with Scott Schebler still out and Jesse Winker out for the season.
Castillo retired the last 11 batters he faced to finish his longest outing of the year with seven innings. It was the longest outing by a Reds' pitcher on the home stand. Homer Bailey pitched 6 2/3 innings on Tuesday. He allowed four hits and a walk and struck out nine.
The Reds put Victor Arano on the ropes in the seventh. Billy Hamilton singled for Castillo. With one out Gennett singled to right to send Hamilton to third base. Votto flied out to center but it wasn't deep enough for Hamilton to score. Suarez, the NL leader in RBI, struck out looking.
David Hernandez entered for the Reds in the eighth for 34th appearance of the season. Herna. ndez struck out three around a double by pinch hitter Cesar Hernandez. It was the 24th time in 34 appearances Hernandez retired the first batter he faced.
Wandy Peralta pitched the ninth. Odubel Herrera reached on an infield hit. Rhys Hoskins flied out to center. Nick Williams blooped a single to left. Jim Riggleman brought in Raisel Iglesias in a save situation. Franco singled to load the bases. Kingery struck out on a 3-2 pitch. Andrew Knapp went down swinging. Iglesias earned his 21st save in 24 tries.
It was the first time the Reds have won a four-game series with the Phillies since September of 1997.
"They've got a good club," Riggleman said. "We didn't see Nola or Arrieta but the four guys we saw all threw very well. They have a good lineup and good pitching. You can see why they're in first place."
On this date in 1968 Reds' pitcher George Culver pitched a no-hitter against the Phillies in the second game of a doubleheader. The Phillies scored one run without a hit, when Dick Allen reached base on a throwing error and scored on a sacrifice fly. The Reds won 6-1.