McCoy: Middletown’s Schwarber clubs two of Cubs’ six home runs in 10-1 win over Reds

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Even though Luis Castillo walked to the pitching mound Sunday afternoon with a 0-and-4 record, he had given up only one home run all season over his first six starts.

That didn’t impress the Chicago Cubs.

They unloaded three home runs on Castillo, and added three more against relief pitchers Robert Stephenson and Jose De Leon, en route to a 10-1 victory.

It earned the Cubs a split of the four-game series, during which they clubbed 14 home runs. Jason Hayward, Ian Happ and Middletown’s Kyle Schwarber each drilled two homers Sunday.

Schwarber hit the first one and the last one was a grand slam in the ninth inning against De Leon.

Castillo dropped to 0-and-5 by giving up four runs and five hits (three home runs) while walking one, hitting one and striking out seven.

Of the two home runs in the fourth, Castillo, speaking through a translator after the game, recounted his misplaced pitches.

“Pitches we didn’t locate well, pitches we didn’t execute,” he said. “And they hit home runs.”

He blew two fastballs past Heyward, but when catcher Tucker Barnhart called for another fast ball, Castillo shook him off and threw a change-up. And Heyward changed it into a home run.

“The change-up to Heyward was low and he was able to hit it,” said Castillo. “The third home run, the one to Happ, was a slider that stayed over the plate and he was able to make good contact.”

In fairness, during his seven starts, the offense has scored 15 runs and Castillo said, “I’m glad that I’m healthy and able to pitch as well as I have. There is always that one inning that costs me a couple of runs.”

Reds manager David Bell feels empathy for Castillo’s plight.

“Castillo had a good fastball, but they got to his off-speed stuff, the change-up, and the home runs beat us,” said Bell. “He has been through this before and the main thing is how he feels, how he’s pitching. He can’t control anything else. That’s the message to him. But he is confident.”

Schwarber began Sunday’s long ball extravaganza, leading off the fourth inning with a bone-crunching 428-foot blast high into the right-field sun deck. Two batters later, Heyward deposited one 387 feet into the right-field seats for a 2-0 lead.

The home run derby continued in the fifth after Castillo hit No. 9 Nico Hoerner with a pitch to open the inning. Happ followed that up with a 399-foot shot over the center-field wall for a 4-0 lead.

Hayward ripped his second home run of the game, a 375-footer down the right-field line. Happ added his second of the game in the seventh, a 366-footer to right field, both off Stephenson.

Schwarber’s grand slam covered 444 feet of real estate in the ninth.

That’s a total of 2,399 feet worth of home runs and six lost baseballs. Schwarber’s two blasts covered 872 feet.

Cubs starter Tyler Chatwood held the Reds to no runs and two hits, but had to leave with one out in the third inning with elbow discomfort.

Jose Quintana, fresh off the injured list, gave the Cubs three innings of one-run, two-hit pitching over three innings with six strikeouts.

His only misstep was a leadoff home run in the sixth by suddenly rejuvented Joey Votto. It was his second home run in three games after manager David Bell gave him three straight days off.

Chicago relief pitcher Ryan Tepera walked the bases loaded in the seventh. But with two outs second baseman Hoerner made a diving catch on a sizzling line drive hit by Nick Castellanos to keep the Reds from scoring.

After Schwarber’s ninth-inning grand slam and a walk, position player Matt Davidson took the mound. He walked the first hitter and center fielder Shogo Akiyama raced to the wall to flag down a long drive by Jason Kipnis to end the uprising.

After the Reds apparently recovered recently from offensive lethargy, they returned to it Sunday with only four hits, two by Akiyama. The game ended with all three Reds striking out in the ninth and six Cubs pitchers struck out 12.

Anthony Rizzo, a Cubs player Reds fans love to hate, endeared himself to the Reds’ ground crew by exchanging a signed jersey for a grounds crew jersey signed by them all.

Then he left town with the rest of the Cubs. Chicago will be replaced by the St. Louis Cardinals for a three-game series beginning Monday at Great American Ball Park.

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