The Dodgers on Friday got a glimpse of the danger of a potential one-game playoff, shut down by a buzzsaw starting pitcher and done in by timely hitting. It was Luis Castillo and old friend Kyle Farmer, respectively, fueling the Reds’ 3-1 victory in the series opener at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
Castillo pitched into the seventh inning and struck out 10, just the seventh pitcher this season to whiff double digits against the Dodgers.
Mookie Betts doubled to lead off the first, but Castillo stranded him with strikeouts of Max Muncy and Trea Turner then, after a walk to Corey Seager, a groundout by Justin Turner to exit the frame. Both strikeouts in the first inning ended on the changeup, a pitch that was working all night for Castillo.
He got 11 swings and misses on the pitch, and finished off seven of his 10 strikeouts with the changeup. Castillo didn’t allow a run.
The Reds got their leadoff double in the fifth, from Farmer, now a shortstop and Cincinnati’s No. 6 hitter. They wasted little time, with catcher and seventh hitter Tucker Barnhart singling him home for the first run of the game against Walker Buehler.
Cincinnati threatened again in the sixth, and with two on and two out, Farmer doubled off Buehler again, this time scoring a pair of insurance runs that seemed so much larger with Castillo on the mound.
Farmer is hitting .307/.343/.497 in 51 games since the All-Star break.
If the Cardinals hold on to beat the Padres on Friday, St. Louis would maintain a one-game lead over the Reds for the second wild card spot. That’s a three-team battle along with the Padres that could last into the season’s final weekend.
In the National League West, the Dodgers fall 1½ games back of the Giants, who are hosting the Braves in San Francisco.
“I don’t think we needed any reminders of how important every game is. We’re trying to win every game,” manager Dave Roberts said. “It just didn’t happen tonight. We know what’s at stake every day.”
Late Lux scratch
Gavin Lux was originally penciled into the lineup in left field Friday, for what would have been his seventh straight start at the position. But he was scratched just before the game with a right forearm injury.
Lux was hit by a pitch from a pitching machine during pregame batting practice. X-rays taken during the game were negative, but he’s not expected to start Saturday or Sunday. Roberts said Lux might be available off the bench over the weekend.
Matt Beaty got the start instead on Friday, his first major league start in exactly one month. He had two hits, including driving in the Dodgers’ only run of the night with a ninth-inning single against Michael Lorenzen.
Home runs: none
WP — Luis Castillo (8-15): 6⅓ IP, 5 hits, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts
LP — Walker Buehler (14-4): 6 IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts
Sv — Michael Lorenzen (4): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 1 strikeout
Max Scherzer gets the call in the day game after the night game on Saturday (11:10 a.m. PT, SportsNet LA), with Sonny Gray — the first pitcher to strike out 10+ Dodgers in a game this season — starting for the Reds.