Saturday’s Game Report: Reds 9, Cardinals 6

Saturday’s Game Report: Reds 9, Cardinals 6

By Rob Rains

It’s been years since Brandon Phillips became a villain in the eyes of Cardinals fans because of his role in some of the battles, literally and figurately, between the Reds and Cardinals.

Nick Castellanos stepped up to take his place on Saturday.

What started when Castellanos was hit by a pitch from Jake Woodford in the fourth inning – and then picked up the baseball and offered it to back to Woodford – escalated into another brawl between the two teams when Castellanos later came around to score on a wild pitch.

After beating Woodford’s tag, he stood up, gestured and yelled while Woodford was still on the ground – and with Yadier Molina immediately stepping in front of Castellanos, both benches emptied.

All of the Cardinals who spoke to the media via zoom after the game in Cincinnati seemed a little confused about why Castellanos was so upset.

“I had to watch the replay because I kind of had a sense of what was taking place,” said manager Mike Shildt. “At that point there’s no need to stand over somebody and taunt somebody; there’s just not a place for that in our book. Then, here we go.

“I was pleased our guys came out there. We’re not going to take it. Yadi went immediately right at him, Woody to his credit got up and was like ‘I’m not going to sit here and be taunted.’ Good for him. It broke out from there.”

Shildt made it clear the pitch from Woodford that hit Castellanos was not intentional.

“There was zero intent there,” he said. “We wouldn’t put a young kid in that situation anyway. I’m confident he didn’t take it on himself. Do I blame Castellanos for being upset? Not at all. No one likes to get hit.”

Woodford said he did not expect Castellanos’s reaction after the play at the plate.

“I was just trying to go make a play,” Woodford said, “trying to save a run and keep us in the ballgame. I was confused, honestly.”

From his vantage point at shortstop, Paul DeJong thought what Castellanos did was unacceptable.

“You’ve seen the NBA hightlights where Shaq dunks on somebody and pushes somebody; there’s a place where it crosses the line,” DeJong said. “He just got real in his face and a little too celebratory toward Woody and that’s where we draw the line. If he had been jumping up and high-fiving the guy at the plate going back to the dugout there would have been no problem.”

Adam Wainwright was watching the incident unfold from the dugout, having been knocked out of the game an inning earlier when the Reds put together a six-run inning.

“He got hit, it hurts; the ball is hard,” Wainwright said. “It probably ticked him off. But you never offer the ball back to the pitcher, that’s tired. He should know better than that. … He probably didn’t mean to show up Woody. I’m sure he was just caught in the moment and excited about it.”

Castellanos was the only player ejected from the game. The melee even included Jordan Hicks and Jerome Williams getting into it with some of the Reds in the outfield before Shildt, who said he saw it coming, got there to pull them away.

Here is how Saturday’s game broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals hit three home runs, a pair of solo homers from DeJong in the second and fourth and a two-run shot from Nolan Arenado, his first as a Cardinal, in the ninth … DeJong also drew two walks, reaching base in four of his five plate appearances … Dylan Carlson drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and another run scored when his fly ball to left was dropped for an error … Paul Goldschmidt and Tyler O’Neill each struck out three times.

On the mound: After retiring the first six Reds in order to begin the game, Wainwright saw his start unravel in the third when the Reds got seven hits, many of which were not hit hard. “I’m not sure I’ve been a part of an inning like that, honestly,” Wainwright said. “They had five or six balls in a row of 80 miles per hour or less put in play on the infield that didn’t get any outs.” Wainwright did give up a two-run homer to Tucker Barnhart following a leadoff walk, but it was a 2-1 game with two outs when the trouble really began. “That was some weird stuff,” he said. “Didn’t make a pitch when I needed it but I had a lot of bad luck  out there. I feel much better about that than if I had given up seven laser beams in a row, I can tell you that.” … Hicks made his first regular-season appearance since June 22, 2019, getting three consecutive ground balls in the seventh.

Key stat: This is the first time in Wainwright’s career he allowed more than four runs in his first start of the season. He had allowed four runs twice, in his first start in 2013 and in 2019.

Worth noting: DeJong became the first shortstop in franchise history to have a multiple-homer game while hitting cleanup. His other two career two-homer games came when he was hitting fifth and seventh … The two homers gave DeJong 11 homers in 30 games in Cincinnati, only one less than the number of singles he has hit at Great American Ballpark … The next step in Kwang Hyun Kim’s recovery from back stiffness will be a simulated game on Tuesday at the Cardinals complex in Jupiter and he perhaps could fly back with the Cardinals to St. Louis after the series ends in Miami next week … Miles Mikolas will be moving his rehab to the alternate site camp when it opens next week.

Up next: Carlos Martinez will get the start on Sunday as the Cardinals close out the series against the Reds.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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For the latest news and features in St. Louis Sports check out STLSportsPage.com. Rob Rains, Editor.