Pulling Castillo after clutch K proves costly

CINCINNATI — Luis Castillo wasn’t just pitching well on Thursday — the Reds starting pitcher was on a legitimate roll against Milwaukee’s lineup. But as good as Castillo was, he was still on the losing side of a 7-2 defeat to the Brewers.

The overriding question from the loss was: Did Castillo have one more batter left in him?

Over 5 2/3 innings, Castillo allowed only one hit and struck out seven with three walks, but was charged with three earned runs. The performance came on the heels of his six-inning, one-run start in a victory last Friday at St. Louis, which snapped a personal seven-game losing streak.

“I’m glad that these two outings have been working well for me,” Castillo said via translator Jorge Merlos. “I’ve just got to keep working at it. You can’t stop now, you have to keep going and keep trying to get better each time you go out there.”

Castillo had overcome a shaky one-run top of the first inning and stayed loose during a 37-minute rain delay before the top of the fifth inning. The right-hander retired 15 in a row, with only two balls leaving the infield during that stretch.

“When you’re throwing all of your pitches low in the zone, you’re more than likely to get a lot of groundouts and strikeouts as well,” Castillo said. “Those were working really well.”

Jesse Winker’s RBI single to left field gave Cincinnati a…

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