Castillo fans seven but allows three home runs in Reds’ 6-2 loss to Padres

CINCINNATI (AP) — Francisco Mejia hit a solo homer and a three-run shot during his first start as the Padres’ up-and-coming catcher, leading San Diego to a 6-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday night.

Mejia connected on his first two swings against Luis Castillo (8-12) for his first homers in the majors . The 22-year-old catcher was called up Tuesday as the Padres get him ready for a bigger role next season.

They got Cleveland’s top catching prospect in a July trade for relievers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber, part of the AL Central leaders’ move to improve their struggling bullpen. Mejia hit seven homers at Triple-A after the trade, prompting his September call-up.

Hunter Renfroe also hit a solo homer off Castillo , who gave up three for the first time in his career.

Left-hander Eric Lauer made his second straight solid start since returning from a stint on the disabled list with a sore forearm that cost him 25 days. He threw five hitless innings during a 3-2, 13-inning win over Colorado on Aug. 30 in his return.

Lauer allowed two hits in four innings Thursday, matching his career high with eight strikeouts. He escaped a bases-loaded, no-out threat in the fourth with a pair of strikeouts and Renfroe’s lunging catch in left field. Padres manager Andy Green is limiting Lauer’s pitches as he returns from the injury.

Jose Castillo (2-2) retired the three batters he faced. Scott Schebler and Mason Williams homered off Trey Wingenter in the seventh.


The Reds held a moment of silence pregame for victims of a downtown shooting on Thursday morning. A gunman killed three people and wounded two others before he was fatally shot by police officers.


Reds: Scooter Gennett was out of the lineup with a tender thigh. He leads the NL in hitting at .320. … LH reliever Amir Garret threw in the bullpen and could be activated next week. He’s been on the DL since Aug. 29 with a bruised left foot.


Padres: Brett Kennedy (1-2) makes his sixth career start and his first against the Reds. He threw six shutout innings on Aug. 31 for a 7-0 victory over Colorado, his first career win.

Reds: Anthony DeSclafani (7-4) makes his 17th start and third career appearance against the Padres, his first since 2016. He lasted only 3 2/3 innings last Sunday in St. Louis, giving up two runs and five hits while throwing 72 pitches.