“Tough team, man,” manager Mike Shildt said of his Cardinals, “They battle their tails off. It scratches and claws. Guys are competing and taking their best shot.”
Heath Hembree pitched a perfect ninth for his eighth save.
Winker hit a two-run double in the first for a 2-1 lead and added insurance with a no-doubt shot deep down the right field line in the seventh. Jonathan India was aboard on a leadoff single.
Castillo (4-10) settled down to retire 11 of the last 13 batters he faced, the last on center fielder Akiyama’s catch of Dylan Carlson’s drive while banging into the wall in right-center with a runner on base to end the seventh. Castillo allowed four hits and one unearned run with three walks and nine strikeouts in seven innings.
“I felt great the entire time,” he said through an interpreter. “What I’ve been really working on is the location of my pitches. That’s how I am getting deeper into games.”
The win was his first in five starts since beating Atlanta, 4-1, on June 26. He’d been victimized by three blown saves in his previous three starts.
“It’s been 10 starts in a row he’s been outstanding,” Bell said. “He’s a great talent. He can really compete.”
Akiyama also beat out a grounder to shortstop DeJong to help set up Winker’s RBI double.
“Shogo made a great play,” Bell said “I don’t know how he beat that ground ball out. He’s a great player, and he was able to contribute in a big way tonight.”
Votto went opposite field for his 13th homer, driving Jake Woodford’s first pitch of the fifth inning straight down the left field line to give Cincinnati a 3-1 lead,
Woodford (2-2) gave up seven hits and three runs with two walks and two strikeouts in five innings.
The Reds committed two of their three errors on the Cardinals’ first two batters of the second, helping St. Louis grab a 1-0 lead. Tyler O’Neill reached when third baseman Eugenio Suárez dropped the ball while trying to get it out of his glove. O’Neill was erased on a force play, but second baseman India’s throw sailed wide of first, allowing Paul DeJong to go to second. He scored on Harrison Bader’s single to left.
India’s streak of reaching base safely to lead off the first inning in six consecutive games is the longest in the majors this season, according to Elia Sports, and the longest by a Reds player since Pokey Reese reached in six straight May 7-13, 2000.
Cardinals: RHP Jack Flaherty (left oblique strain) was scheduled to throw on the side on Saturday and throw 40-45 pitches in a start on Tuesday against Triple-A Gwinnett at Memphis. Flaherty, out since June 1, is eligible to be activated next Saturday.
Reds: RHP R.J. Alaniz went on the 10-day injured list with a left calf strain.
Cardinals: St. Louis is 0-10 in RHP Johan Oviedo’s (0-5) 10 career starts against NL Central opponents.
Reds: St. Louis roughed up RHP Sonny Gray (2-5) with six hits and five runs in 3 2-3 innings in a 5-4 Cincinnati loss on April 23.