CINCINNATI — Luis Castillo repeated his strong Opening Day outing Wednesday, but the Reds bats were silent again.
The Brewers (6-1) got only one hit and one run in seven innings off Castillo, but that was enough for a 1-0 victory that completed a three-game sweep and sent the Reds (1-4) to their fourth straight loss.
Castillo had nine strikeouts thanks to a dazzling changeup, but one of his four walks - and a balk - led to the only run in the second inning
"I lost the game in that inning right there,” Castillo said.
As good as Castillo was, he was outdueled by Brewers starter Freddy Peralta, who gave up just two singles, fanned 11 and didn’t walk anyone in eight innings.
“You could feel both pitchers going at it,” Peralta said through a translator.
The Reds had a last gasp in the ninth inning when Tucker Barnhart walked against reliever Alex Wilson and Matt Kemp’s two-out single sent pinch runner Michael Lorenzen to third.
But Eugenio Suarez grounded into a force out at second to end it.
The Reds managed only two other baserunners. Curt Casali hit a two-out single in the eighth, but Yasiel Puig struck out pinch hitting for Jose Iglesias. Suarez singled leading off the second.
The Reds were shut out for the second time in five games and have scored just 11 runs with a .167 batting average - both last in the NL. Starting outfielders Jesse Winker, Scott Schebler and Kemp fell to a combined 1 for 42 this season.
"I’m not too worried about us hitting,” Kemp said. “This was a big homestand. Everybody was excited and riled up. We’ve just got to calm down.”
The Reds started 3-15 last year after an identical 1-4 opening homestand, but Winker said forget about last year.
“I don’t want to talk about last year. We’ve been in some really close games. It stinks to be a part of losing,” he said.
Castillo opened the game impressively, striking out the side in the first. Ben Gamel, Christian Yelich and Ryan Braun all went down swinging. But his wildness - and the balk - got the best of him in the second.
After Jesus Aguilar drew a one-out walk, the Reds decided to have Joey Votto play off first base because Aguilar isn’t a threat to steal. Castillo knew Votto was playing back, but he made a pickoff move anyway and froze, causing a balk.
“He got off to a big lead,” Castillo said through a translator. “I saw that and I tried to pick him off. That was my fault."
Aguilar then came home on Manny Pina’s two-out single.
Castillo has given the Reds their best two performances out of the starting rotation. On the Opening Day, the right-hander held the Pirates to one run and two hits over 5 2/3 innings. He had eight strikeouts and walked three but didn't get the decision in the Reds' 5-3 victory.
Tyler Mahle makes his 2019 debut Thursday night as the Reds open a four-game series in Pittsburgh. The teams split a rain-shortened two-game series to open the season.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
WCPO will update this story.