McCoy: Reds’ momentum halted in San Diego

Padres win 3-2 Sunday to complete four-game sweep

All the positive vibes the Cincinnati Reds carried into San Diego late last week went up in four puffs of smoke the last four days.

With a 3-2 victory Sunday afternoon in Petco Park, the San Diego Padres completed a four-game sweep of the Reds.

When the Reds arrived, they carried a six-game winning streak and were fresh from a three-game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers that lifted them four games above .500.

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Now they are back to .500 at 34-34 and reeling, delighted to pack their gear and flee the west coast for a two-game series in Minnesota, beginning Monday night.

One wonders what negative effect the 6-4 loss in series opener Thursday night had, if it threw a wet blanket over the entire series. The Reds scored four runs in the top of the ninth to take a 4-2 lead only to have the Padres score four in the bottom of the ninth, a walk-off ending on Victor Caratini’s two-run home run.

“The first game hurt, really hard,” said Reds shortstop Kyle Farmer. “I’ve never been really mad or upset after a loss, but I was upset. We had it in the bag and it didn’t go our way.

“Nothing would have been better than to come out with that win against that crowd and a great team like the Padres,” he added. “But this weekend was tough, we played our butts off, played hard, did everything we could do.”

The Padres did all they needed Sunday in a wild three-run third inning against starter and loser Luis Castillo, who fell to 2-10.

With one out, Manny Machado singled and with two outs Castillo walked Eric Hosmer. Castillo threw two high fastballs to Wil Myers and showed frustration when umpire David Rackley called them both balls.

On the next pitch, Myers ripped one into the right-field corner for a two-run triple and he continued home on first baseman Joey Votto’s throwing error to make it 3-0.

“They were really good quality pitches, from my standpoint,” Castillo said of the two close fastballs that were called balls on Myers. “I thought they were really close to the strike zone, I kind of think it was 100 percent a strike there.

“That’s the umpire’s call right there and you have to come back from it and make sure you throw another quality pitch,” he added. “It is frustrating when you don’t get the calls, but even though I might get frustrated I can’t hold back. I do have to throw quality pitches the next time.”

Castillo was on his game. He struck out the first hitter he faced, Trent Grisham, with a  100 mph fastball and touched 100 a few times. He pitched six innings and gave up three runs (two earned), six hits, walked three and struck out seven.

The Reds frittered away more than one chance. They were 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine runners. They put their first runner of an inning on base three times in the first five innings and didn’t score.

They had a gaping opportunity in the seventh against University of Dayton product and Versailles native Craig Stammen. They filled the bases with one out. Nothing came of it because Jonathan India hit into an inning-ending double play.

Cincinnati’s two runs came in the eighth against Emilio Pagan. Jesse Winker singled and Tyler Stephenson doubled to put runners on third and second with no outs.

Winker scored on Votto’s grounder to first. Aristides Aquino walked and stole second to become the potential go-ahead run. Eugenio

Suarez grounded to short and Stephenson scored to pull the Reds within 3-2 with

Aquino on third.

Shogo Akiyama hit one hard and deep to the right field wall and it was caught. Manager David Bell, from his perch in the dugout thought it was a home run.

“I did (think it was a home run), we all did,” said Bell. “Wrong part of the ball park. It’s a tough game, but it’s why we love it. If he pulls it a little bit more maybe we win that game.”

San Diego closer Mark Melancon, against whom the Reds scored four runs  in the ninth inning Thursday, retired Farmer and Mike Freeman. But he walked India, the potential tying run. The game ended on shortstop Ha-Seong Kim’s back to the infield over the shoulder basket catch on Winker’s bid for a  bloop hit.

That gave Melancon a league-leading 21 saves in 24 opportunities. Of more importance, the Reds came to San Diego two games out of first place and left four games behind.

“They’re a good team, no question,” said Bell about the Padres. “And we’re a good team. We expect to win games here. But they played well and it takes our best to beat them.

“Looking back, the first game of the series there was a shift at the end of that game, for sure,” said Bell. “It was a tough series, we competed hard and came up short.”

Way short.