By HAL McCOY
When Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo gives up five runs in the first inning and the team is behind, 8-4, after five innings, it might be expected the Reds would lose by something like 15-9.
Well, that was the score. 15-9. But it was the Reds on the top end of the score against the Minnesota Twins Friday night in Target Field.
After falling behind by 8-4, the Reds scored the next 11 runs against a plug ugly Twins bullpen, scoring six runs in the fifth inning and four runs in the ninth inning.
A fun time was had by every Reds player who swung a bat on this frigid Minnesota evening.
Start if off with Joey Votto. He was at the plate six times and was on base six times — hit by pitch, walk, home runs, single, walk, double.
His home run was his fourth of the season and fourth in the last four games.
Mix in Jose Peraza with four hits that included two home runs, his first two of the season.
Stir in Eugenio Suarez, playing his second game since coming off the disabled list, with four hits.
Scooter Gennett produced three hits, while Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler added two each.
The only position player without a hit was catcher Tucker Barnhart and he collected two RBI on a pair of sacrifice flies.
When it mercifully ended, the Reds had 20 hits that included three homers, four doubles and a triple by Billy Hamilton, who also had a pair of walks.
Peraza homered in the top of the first against Minnesota starter Phil Hughes, making his second start of the season.
That lasted only until Luis Castillo took the mound and gave up five runs in the first inning, including a two-run home run by Logan Morrison, who was hitting .113 at the time.
Castillo faced two batters in the second and gave up a double and a walk and his short night was over — one inning, five runs, six hits, two walks and no strikeouts. His earned run average exploded to 7.85.
Then the fun began. The Reds were behind 5-1, 7-3 and 8-4. Hughes and the weak Twins bullpen wasn’t up to protecting that lead.
It exploded in their faces in the fifth inning when the Reds sent 12 batters to the plate and scored six runs on nine hits.
Votto started the inning with a home run, his fourth in four games and he is moving left to right with them. His first was to the left field corner. His second was to left center. His third was to dead center. His fourth was down the right field line.
And he added a single in the fifth, two hits in the inning. What was that song Tina Tuner sang: “Simply the best, better than all the rest.”
Votto’s home run was against Twins relief pitcher Tyler Duffey and came on his first pitch of the inning.
Then came a single by Scooter Gennett, a double by Eugenio Suarez, a double for two runs by Scott Schebler (8-7 Twins), an infield hit by Adam Duvall, a sacrifice fly by Tucker Barnhart (8-8), a triple by Billy Hamilton (9-8 Reds), a wild pitch that scored Hamilton (10-8 Reds).
It stayed that way thanks to some close-the-deal relief pitching by David Hernandez, Amir Garrett and Jared Hughes.
Hernandez, fresh off the disabled list, made his Reds debut and gave the team 1 1/3 innings with no runs, one hit, one walk and three strikeouts. His effort earned him the victory.
Amir Garrett pitched an inning and gave up no runs, one hit and struck out two. Jared Hughes kept it at 10-8 with two hitless innings with a walk the only blemish on his work sheet.
The Reds put it out of reach with four runs in the ninth, this big inning also started by a home run, this time by Peraza. Adam Duvall contributed a two-run double.
The Reds arrived in Minneapolis at a perfect time. The Twins have now lost eight straight and the Reds have two more looks at the Twins Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon.