CINCINNATI – After crushing a grand slam in the seventh inning Monday night, Nick Castellanos thrust his fist in the air as the crowd at Great American Ball Park chanted “MVP! MVP!”
He is certainly making a case.
Castellanos had three hits and a career-high seven RBIs, helping the Cincinnati Reds rally for a 12-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
Castellanos, who leads the majors with a .347 batting average, heard more “MVP” chants when he doubled home a run in the eighth.
“I'm not going to lie — (it's) inspiring," Castellanos said of the “MVP” cheers.
Cincinnati trailed 4-2 before Castellanos connected for his sixth career grand slam, driving a 1-1 fastball from Neftali Feliz (0-1) deep to center.
It was Feliz's first big league appearance since 2017. He came on after Bailey Falter pitched four innings of one-run ball in relief of Spencer Howard.
“We liked Neftali against that group of guys, and it didn't work out,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said.
The Reds added six more in the eighth, blowing it open against the Phillies' sputtering bullpen. Eugenio Suárez and Tyler Stephenson scored on a throwing error by reliever Enyel De Los Santos. Castellanos drove in Jonathan India with a two-out double, and Joey Votto added a solo drive.
Alec Bohm and Ronald Torreyes each drove in two runs for the Phillies, who have lost two straight and six of eight.
Heath Hembree (2-3) pitched a scoreless inning for the win.
“So many good things happened,” Reds manager David Bell said. “Big night from Nick, of course. Also, every position player who played tonight reached base. We had a bunch of singles to keep things going, and then some big hits.”
Castellanos, Tyler Naquin and Jesse Winker have collected six-plus RBIs in a game this season, making the Reds the first big league team to have three different outfielders with a six-RBI game before the All-Star break, according to STATS.
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Cincinnati’s seventh-inning rally was sparked by Alejo Lopez, who was called up earlier in the day from Triple-A Louisville to make his major league debut. He pinch-hit with one out and singled on the first pitch.
“To get it all started was very cool,” he said.
Lopez also singled on the first pitch he saw at the Triple-A level after being promoted from Double-A on June 4.
Phillies: RF Bryce Harper was back in the lineup after sitting out Sunday’s game with some tightness and swelling in his left calf. He left Saturday’s game in the sixth after he was hit by a pitch on that leg. ... 2B Jean Segura (groin strain) and SS Didi Gregorius (right elbow) are close to be activated, according to Girardi.
Reds: Naquin was scratched because of a sore right wrist. Shogo Akiyama started in his place. ... RHP Sonny Gray (groin) said he will start for the Reds on Friday after a rehab outing at Triple-A Louisville. ... Bell said RHP Jeff Hoffman (shoulder) will make another rehab start at Louisville before rejoining the team.
Phillies: Head home Tuesday for a three-game series with Miami. Left-hander Trevor Rogers (7-4) is expected to start for the Marlins against right-hander Vince Velasquez (2-2).
Reds: Send right-hander Tony Santillan (1-1) to the mound to face left-hander Blake Snell (3-3) for the first of a three-game series with the Padres.
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