SAN DIEGO– Eric Lauer threw five solid innings, the Padres scored four runs in the second, and Jose Castillo struck out the side in his big league debut to lift the Padres to an 8-2 victory over the Reds in front of 31,710 at Petco Park.
San Diego improved to 26-34 while Cincinnati fell to 21-38.
Lauer throws five good innings
Prior to Saturday’s start against the Cincinnati Reds, Andy Green stressed a need for consistency and more conviction from left-hander Eric Lauer:
“It is conviction over perfection. Just throw every pitch with conviction and believe that you can have success,” the skipper said. “Just go out on the attack, and good things have happened when he has pitched like that.”
Lauer followed Green’s comments with a solid start, throwing five innings of five-hit, one-run ball. He struck out four and walked two, throwing 51 of his 87 pitches for strikes.
The only run that the Ohio native allowed came off the bat of catcher Curt Casali, who hit a 370-foot solo shot in the top of the second. Lauer did not record a 1-2-3 inning on the evening, but he did record his MLB-leading fifth pickoff in the top of the third.
One of the more encouraging signs from Lauer’s start was that his fastball velocity seemed to be up a tick. In the first few innings, the rookie reached 95 on the radar gun on occasion, mostly sitting 92-93.
His average fastball velocity on the evening was 91.2 mph. Five days ago against Miami, it was 89.5.
All in all, it was a good bounce-back effort from Eric Lauer and a step in the right direction. He earned his second career win.
“I thought his curveball was better than it has been. Competed well. Got through five innings, gave up one run,” Green reflected. “There were some real good flashes in there.”
The decisive second inning
In the top of the second, Curt Casali homered off Eric Lauer to even the game at one apiece. A manufactured run by the Padres in the bottom of the first had been wiped away with one swing of the bat.
San Diego made sure the game would not be tied for long.
Margot took the first two pitches for strikes, falling behind 0-2 in the count. On the third pitch of the at-bat, the second year outfielder poked a two-run double to the opposite field.
It was an impressive display of hitting for someone who has obviously been struggling this season. Margot has been showing signs of breaking out, however. He entered hitting .304 ( 7-for-23) in his last eight ballgames, and added to that total on Saturday with a 2-for-4 evening.
Eric Lauer followed with his first career RBI: a sacrifice fly to right field. Following was Travis Jankowski, who plated the final run of the inning with an RBI single.
Adding on in the seventh
Starting with a Travis Jankowski infield single, the Padres led off the seventh with five consecutive base hits, which plated three insurance runs.
With the Padres leading 8-1 in the 8th, manager Andy Green turned to left-handed reliever Jose Castillo. In what was his first MLB appearance, Castillo struck out Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez, and Adam Duvall in order.
“I came in with the mentality of not thinking about names, not really thinking about who I was facing and treating everyone like just another hitter,” Castillo stated after the game. “Luckily I was able to get those results.”
It was a dominant and impressive first outing for the Venezuela native.