Nevertheless, Cleveland used and abused Castillo for eight runs, seven hits, three walks, a hit batsman and two home runs in only 3 1/3 innings.
Castillo is the first Reds starting pitcher to be administered a loss since Sonny Gray lost on July 25. Reds starters had won 10 straight decisions.
And it was Castillo’s first clunker since May.
“It was just a bad night overall,” said Castillo. “We’ve had a good stretch of starts, but just like everybody, every pitcher has a bad start, whether you are a starter or reliever. The location of the pitches weren’t there tonight. The batters were able to make me pay. Just a bad night for me.”
Meanwhile the Reds did nothing against Cleveland’s parade of bullpenners — Sam Hentges, Justin Garza, Blake Parker, Nick Wittgren and Nick Sandlin.
“It was a bullpen night for Cleveland, but they ran out some good quality pitchers against us,” said Reds manager David Bell. “We had the hits (nine) and some hard-hit balls, but once we got down it just turned into a different kind of game for us.”
The Reds scored first in the top of the first when Jonathan India walked on four pitches and came around to score on Joey Votto’s single.
Castillo, though, couldn’t find home plate with a GPS or a Sherpa. And when he did find the strike zone, the Indians crushed them.
The Indians tied in the bottom of the first on a double by leadoff hitter Myles Straw and a single by Amed Rosario.
Cleveland took a 3-1 lead in the second on a two-run home run by catcher Wilson Ramos, his second in three games since the Detroit Tigers released him and the Indians signed him.
The lead climbed to 5-1 in the third and the Tribe tacked on three more in the fourth and chased Castillo. His last pitch was a two-run home run by Jose Ramirez, his 25th of the season, to make it 8-1.
Castillo called the Ramos home run the blow that knocked the wind out of him, even though his home run just made it 3-1.
“I was trying to throw a pitch up high (to Ramos) so I would get a swing and a miss,” said Castillo. “He got the barrel on it and hit it out. That was a turning point for me, and it went downhill from there.”
The loudest crack of the bat came in the seventh on Cincinnati relief pitcher Justin Miller’s first pitch. Bradley Zimmer cleared everything in center field and the ball landed in a forest of trees. It was 471 feet from home plate, longest home run by an Indians player this season.
Lucas Sims, fresh off the injured list, pitched the eighth and gave up a double to Rosario, his fourth hit. It was the fourth time this season Rosario had a four-hit game, most in the majors.
Votto, Tyler Stephenson, Aristides Aquino and Tucker Barnhart each had two hits, but those were eight of the Reds’ nine hits and they were never able to splice things together.