CINCINNATI (AP) - Luis Castillo tuned up for his first All-Star Game with an absolute gem.
Castillo struck out nine while pitching one-hit ball into the eighth inning, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the slumping Milwaukee Brewers 1-0 on Thursday.
“This was the best outing, not only of the season, but of my career,” Castillo said.
Cincinnati won for the fourth time in five games. Jesse Winker went 3 for 3 and scored the only run on Yasiel Puig’s first-inning single.
Castillo was winless in three previous starts against Milwaukee this year, but he was terrific this time around. He was working on a no-hitter before rookie Keston Hiura singled with one out in the seventh.
“They hit me well a couple times when I faced them,” Castillo said. “I made some adjustments in the bullpen and in the game. I watched the video or the last two outings and started to pitch backward — the opposite way I worked in my last two outings.”
Castillo (8-3), who pitched seven sparkling innings in a 1-0 loss to Milwaukee on April 3, might have gone the distance if not for a 69-minute rain delay with two out in the eighth inning.
“In his last two starts, we did a great job laying off things,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. “His command in those starts wasn’t as good. The batters had good plans, but he did a good job keeping hitters guessing. He threw more strikes.”
Milwaukee dropped the last three games of the four-game set. It hasn’t scored in the last 23 innings.
“I don’t know what to say about our pitching,” Reds manager David Bell said. “They are doing everything they can. To limit the scoring like they did in the last three games of the series shows so much about their preparation and hard work. They continue to develop as a staff.”
Christian Yelich started the ninth with a double off Raisel Iglesias for the Brewers’ second hit. But Iglesias then retired three in a row for his 16th save, helped by left fielder Phillip Ervin’s tumbling catch against the wall on Mike Moustakas’ foul ball.
Milwaukee wasted a solid start by Brandon Woodruff (10-3), who permitted seven hits, struck out six and walked none in six innings.
Winker led off the first with a double to right. After Joey Votto singled, Puig singled up the third-base line to give Cincinnati the lead.