CINCINNATI – Nick Castellanos hit a go-ahead homer in the seventh inning hours after deciding to appeal a two-game suspension for his part in a brawl, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 on Monday night.
Jose De Leon tied a career high with nine strikeouts and allowed two runs, three hits and two walks over five innings to help the Reds secure a third straight win.
Mike Moustakas tied it at 2 in the fifth with his first home run of the season, a solo shot to right field off Luis Oviedo. Moustakas also doubled and scored in the eighth. Sean Doolittle (1-0) struck out two in a perfect seventh, and Amir Garrett allowed a run but completed his first save.
Phillip Evans and Colin Moran both homered off De Leon in the first inning.
Castellanos connected off Sam Howard (0-1) for his third homer of the season. He admired the shot as he walked out of the box, whipped his bat toward the home dugout and yelled toward teammates as he shuffled toward first.
Castellanos was disciplined by Major League Baseball on Monday afternoon for sparking an incident with the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday – the right fielder flexed while standing over pitcher Jake Woodford moments after sliding into home. Woodford had hit Castellanos with a pitch moments before. His suspension is being held in abeyance until the appeal is heard.
The Reds’ offense has produced 30 runs over the first four games of the season, after scoring 27 in the first three games for the first time since 1976.
Reds pitchers held the Pirates to just one hit over the middle seven innings until Bryan Reynolds homered in the ninth.
De Leon’s first major league hit and RBI in his first at-bat since 2016 got the Reds on the board in the second.
De Leon fanned three batters in the third and fifth innings as Reds pitchers combined for 15 strikeouts.
Pirates starter JT Brubaker, who grew up in nearby Springfield, Ohio, allowed a run through four innings in his second career start against the Reds.
Reds: Sonny Gray, who began the season on the 10-day injured list with a muscle strain in his back, threw 60 pitches over 4 2/3 innings at the Reds’ alternate training site in Louisville, Kentucky, on Monday. “I felt really, really good,” Gray said. “I wanted to treat it like a normal start as much as I could. I was very pleased.”
Outfielder Jesse Winker has not played since leaving Saturday’s game with flu-like symptoms. He has not tested positive for COVID-19, according to manager David Bell.
Reds left-hander Wade Miley makes his season debut after injuries limited him to 14 1/3 innings last year, while right-hander Trevor Cahill debuts for the Pirates after signing a one-year deal in March.