Lauer’s strong outing carries Padres to 8-2 win vs Reds

San Diego Padres' A.J. Ellis, right, scores on a sacrifice fly by Eric Lauer during the second inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds in San Diego, Saturday, June 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

SAN DIEGO (AP) It was a big night for a pair of 22-year-old rookie left-handers with the rebuilding San Diego Padres.

Eric Lauer got things started when he pitched five strong innings, drove in his first run and picked off Joey Votto to tie for the big league lead, helping the Padres to an 8-2 victory against the Cincinnati Reds.

Jose Castillo had an impressive MLB debut by striking out the side in the eighth, starting with fanning Votto on a 95-mph fastball.

”That was cool, wasn’t it?” Lauer said of his new teammate, who was recalled from Triple-A El Paso earlier in the day.

The 22-year-old Castillo was acquired along with Wil Myers from Tampa Bay in a three-team, 11-player trade on Dec. 18, 2014. He became the ninth Padres player – and seventh pitcher – to debut this season.

”It’s cool to be a part of it. I’ve seen it firsthand,” Lauer said. ”I’ve been with a ton of these guys that are coming up. I was one of those guys that came up. You just hope to see these guys stick and kind of have a little culture change to where we turn this club around. We’ve got a lot of good guys in this clubhouse right now as it is. Everybody wants to win. Nobody in here wants to lose. The more we can win, the better this clubhouse will be.”

Lauer (2-3) won for the first time in five starts. He has largely struggled since making his MLB debut on April 24, but put together a nice outing and was backed by a four-run second inning against Matt Harvey (1-4). Lauer allowed one run on five hits, struck out four and walked two. He came in with a 7.67 ERA and lasted only 2 1-3 innings in his previous start, a 7-2 loss to Miami on Monday.

Lauer’s only real mistake was allowing Curt Casali’s solo homer in his first Reds at-bat with one out in the second. Casali was acquired from Tampa Bay on Thursday and was added to the 25-man roster on Friday.

Votto singled with two outs in the third and was picked off by Lauer, who tied Atlanta’s Julio Teheran with five pickoffs, the most in the majors. The Padres lead the big leagues with 11 pickoffs.

”I think from an overall standpoint, I helped the team in more aspects. The RBI and pickoff are kind of bonuses, I think. I still need to get through more innings. Overall, though, it’s one of those outings where you look back and I helped the team in multiple ways.”

Castillo first showed flashes of what he can be when he pitched for Venezuela in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

”Fun. I gave him a really easy batter the first one he faced,” manager Andy Green joked about having Castillo start off against Votto. ”The guy’s as good as it comes. That’s fun in and of itself, the first strikeout being Joey Votto. There’s probably not too many pitchers who can actually say that. And to punch out the whole side; we’ve been talking about him for some time, since he’s been acquired but also since I watched him in the WBC. Finally his time has come for a chance at the big league level and he seized it.”

Castillo said having played in the WBC helped him handle the pressure of his debut.

”I think I came in with the mentality of not really thinking about names, not really thinking about who I was facing and treating everyone like just another hitter and luckily I was able to get those results,” he said through a translator.

He didn’t need a translator to describe his overall feelings.

”Very happy,” he said.

With the score tied at 1, the Padres loaded the bases with no outs against Harvey in the second, on singles by rookie Franmil Reyes and Freddy Galvis, and a walk by A.J. Ellis. Manuel Margot hit a two-run double down the right-field line. Lauer followed with a sacrifice fly for his first RBI and Travis Jankowski added an RBI single.

Harvey allowed five runs – four earned – and six hits in five innings, struck out three and walked one.

Harvey said things ”just kind of unraveled in that second inning. It’s frustrating, the last two starts I’ve had, one inning is really causing a lot of the damage. I think I got through the first inning fine, then kind of became mechanical and slowed everything down a little bit instead of just getting after it. Once I sped up my mechanics and stopped worrying about staying back or staying closed and this and that it was a completely different ballgame.”

The Padres added on against the Reds’ bullpen when they opened the seventh with five straight singles. Eric Hosmer drove in one run and Matt Szczur had a two-run base hit.

Cincinnati’s Scott Schebler homered on Phil Hughes‘ first pitch of the ninth. It was his seventh.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Reds: Placed RHP Homer Bailey on the 10-day disabled list with right knee inflammation and reinstated RHP Austin Brice (mid-back) from the DL.

UP NEXT

Reds: RHP Luis Castillo (4-5, 5.49) is scheduled to start the series finale Sunday. The Reds have won four of his last five starts and he’s won three of his last four decisions.

Padres: RHP Tyson Ross (4-3, 3.29) is 4-0 with a 1.20 ERA in five appearances, including four starts, against the Reds.

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