By HAL McCOY
CINCINNATI — When he isn’t winning 13 games for the Arizona Diamondbacks, pitcher Zack Godley is an avid fisherman and is delightfully proud that he has sunk two boats while searching for bass and while he survived, the bass didn’t.
Godley did some more sinking Sunday afternoon in Great American Ball Park. His sinker/curveball had the Cincinnati Reds pounding the baseball into the dirt and he sunk the Reds, 9-2, preventing the Diamondbacks from getting swept.
Godley punished the Reds for 6 2/3 innings — two runs (one earned), six hits, one and six strikeouts. And the bullpen finished the deal.
And the Diamondbacks punished the Reds with a five-barreled home run attack — all nine runs coming on five home runs. Paul Goldschmidt hit two and the D-Backs bull-whipped Keury Mella for three home runs in the ninth inning.
The Reds owed the Los Angeles Dodgers a favor, a huge blue ribbon favor. It was back early in the season when the scrambling Dodgers were trying to keep their season from drowning in the Pacific Ocean.
The Reds didn’t help them one bit. They took four straight games from the Dodgers in Chavez Ravine.
Now the Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks are neck-and-neck in the National League West and the Dodgers figured the Reds owed them big-time this weekend when the Diamondbacks came to Great American Ball Park.
The debt nearly was paid and the deed nearly was done. The Reds won the first two, but on Luis Castillo Fathead Day Castillo threw two fat pitches and both were whacked for home runs that accounted for five runs.
It started poorly for Castillo in the first inning when he gave up a leadoff single to Jon Jay, a one-out walk to David Peralta and a two-out 0-and-2 home run to Daniel Descalso and it was 3-0.
After Descalso’s home run, Castillo retired 14 straight through the fifth inning as the Reds pecked away at Godley. They scored a run in the second and a run in the third to pull within 3-2.
Eugenio Suarez and Mason Williams opened the second with back-to-back singles. Suarez scored on an error by pitcher Godley, who missed a double play throw at first base.
Jose Peraza tripled into the right field corner to begin the third and scored on Joey Votto’s sacrifice fly and it was 3-2.
After Castillo retired 14 straight, he gave up a single to Jon Jay to start the sixth and Paul Goldschmidt reached the right field sun deck with his 25th home run and a 5-2 Arizona lead, an opposite field fly ball that, like the Energizer Bunny, just kept going and going and going.
To his credit, manager Jim Riggleman would not take the low road and blame Great American Small Park for this day’s troubles. After all, his team played in the same park under the same conditions and didn’t hit any home runs.
“For the most part, I feel like the home runs we hit here and the home runs we give up here are pretty legitimate,” he said. “I would not say it is because of the park. Maybe a couple today, but the game was out of hand.
“Descalso’s early in the game was hit very well and later in the game those balls hit by Goldschmidt and Escobar are going out of anywhere. And Peralta’s — those balls are gone.”
Castillo, though, seems to be able to give ‘em up anywhere. In 126 2/3 innings he has given up 22 home runs.
“Lately, we’ve been giving up few home runs,” said Riggleman. “Earlier we were giving them up at a record rate a few weeks ago and that’s kind of calmed down a little bit. But today we have ‘em up.”
Riggleman preferred to concentrate on the 14 batters in a row Castillo retired between the Descalso home run in the first inning and the Goldschmidt home run in the sixth.
“Luis’ performance after Descalso’s home run in the first right up to the fly ball Goldschmidt hit out in the sixth, he really threw the ball well,” he said. “The score was 3-2 before Goldschmidt’s ball went out. He is keeping us in the game. Then it was 5-2 and a little tougher.”
Said Castillo of Descalso’s two-out 0-and-2 home run in the first inning, “It was supposed to be an inside pitch and it was over the plate and he took advvantage of it.”
And how about Goldschmidt’s fly ball home run to right?
“No, no,” he said. “I made my pitch, an inside pitch. But he is a strong man and he put a pretty good swing on it. I thought it was going to be a little fly ball to right field but it kept going and going. . .homer.”
When Descalso continued the sixth inning with a two-out double after Goldschmidt’s home run, Castillo’s day was done. He only gave up five hits over his five innings, but all five runs scored on the two home runs, the three-run rip by Descalso and the two-run rocket blasted by Goldschmidt.
Four more runs came off three home runs against Mella in the top of the ninth. it began with a double by Nick Ahmed and a two-run home run by Eduardo Escobar to make it 7-2. One out later, Goldschmidt (26) and Peralta went back-to-back.
While the D-Backs clubbed five home runs, the Reds finished with only even hits, two each by Peraza and Suarez and one each by Billy Hamilton, pinch-hitter Dilson Herrera and Mason Williams.