Castillo flashes potential in grinding start

Castillo flashes potential in grinding start

ATLANTA -- Luis Castillo continued to strengthen his case to become a potential frontline starter for the Reds. He didn't have the best command of his pitches, but he battled to limit the Braves to a pair of runs in the Reds 8-1 loss on Sunday at SunTrust Park.

Castillo was clean during his first trip through the Braves' lineup. However, he quickly accelerated his pitch count as the Braves fouled off some quality pitches. He also ran into some trouble in the third inning as he allowed two runs on a double by Braves outfielder Nick Markakis that split the gap in right field.

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Jaylon Thompson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta and covered the Reds on Sunday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Offense quieted by Newcomb, Braves

Offense quieted by Newcomb, Braves

ATLANTA -- After helping Braves' starting pitcher Sean Newcomb escape a pair of bases-loaded threats at SunTrust Park on Sunday afternoon, catcher Tyler Flowers ensured Cincinnati relief pitcher Drew Storen would not encounter the same good fortune. Flowers' grand slam off Storen highlighted a six-run fifth inning that allowed the Braves to cruise toward an 8-1 win over the Reds.

While Newcomb managed to work out of trouble numerous times through five stress-filled scoreless innings, Storen allowed four runs on the first four pitches he threw. Storen replaced Luis Castillo, who struck out eight through four innings, and proceeded to retire just one of the first seven batters faced. The big blow came courtesy of the second career grand slam for Flowers, who has accounted for 11 of the 24 home runs he and backup catcher Kurt Suzuki have combined to hit this season.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Jaylon Thompson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta and covered the Reds on Sunday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bailey gets nod in series opener against Cubs

Bailey gets nod in series opener against Cubs

American Legion week is over for the Cubs, who return to their regular work schedule on Tuesday when they face the Reds at Great American Ball Park.

During the Cubs' past seven games, the players were told to report late to get some rest during the so-called dog days of August. Since manager Joe Maddon implemented American Legion week, the Cubs are 14-2.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Don't question Scooter during Players Weekend

Already graced with a nickname, Gennett will opt for 'Ryan' Aug. 25-27

Don't question Scooter during Players Weekend

MILWAUKEE -- Among the features of Players Weekend on Aug. 25-27, players around Major League Baseball will get to have nicknames on the backs of their jerseys above their numbers.

Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett already uses his nickname on the field every day, so he did something a little ironic with his jersey. Gennett will wear his given name, Ryan, above his No. 4. His full name is Ryan Joseph Gennett.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gennett's slam caps Reds' win vs. Braves

Gennett's slam caps Reds' win vs. Braves

ATLANTA -- Scooter Gennett's ninth-inning grand slam off Jim Johnson provided the Reds the cushion they needed to overcome a monstrous Matt Adams home run and preserve Robert Stephenson's encouraging effort in Saturday night's 11-8 win over the Braves at SunTrust Park.

"It is a crucial time whenever you get runners out there on the bases," Gennett said. "In that situation, we were up three and to just get some more insurance is huge. Just how the game ended out, it ended up being a big moment."

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Jaylon Thompson is a reporter forr MLB.com based in Atlanta who covered the Reds on Saturday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Stephenson nabs 1st win, focused on fixes

Stephenson nabs 1st win, focused on fixes

ATLANTA -- Robert Stephenson didn't have his best stuff against the Braves on Saturday night, but he had enough to help the Reds to an 11-8 victory. As a result, the Reds clinched the series against the Braves and will go for the series sweep on Sunday at SunTrust Park.

Stephenson went five innings and allowed two runs en route to his first win since April 19, 2016. He had to battle out of trouble a few times but pitched around his mistakes to keep the Reds in the game.

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Jaylon Thompson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Leader Watch: Votto 'ungodly' at the plate

Leader Watch: Votto 'ungodly' at the plate

Cubs manager Joe Maddon may have put it best, explaining why he resorted to a fourth man in the outfield to defend Joey Votto: The Reds first baseman is "ungodly" at the plate.

It's a worthy descriptor to attach to one of the frontrunners for Most Valuable Player in the National League. Votto now has a .316 batting average, .447 on-base percentage and .598 slugging percentage, after going 2-for-5 with a double in the Reds' 11-8 win over the Braves on Saturday. He has 32 home runs, 100 walks and only 64 strikeouts.

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David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reds play it safe, rest Cozart after HBP

Reds play it safe, rest Cozart after HBP

ATLANTA -- The Reds have remained cautious with shortstop Zack Cozart as he deals with a left shin injury that caused him to leave in the seventh inning of Friday's game against the Braves at SunTrust Park.

Cozart was not in the lineup on Saturday as Jose Peraza drew the start for the Reds. He is considered day-to-day, however, Reds manager Bryan Price allowed the possibility Cozart could be available if needed.

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Jaylon Thompson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Romano delivers vs. Braves, backed by 3 HRs

Romano delivers vs. Braves, backed by 3 HRs

ATLANTA -- Sal Romano halted his recent struggles by delivering one of the finest starts of his rookie season and R.A. Dickey's attempt to produce another gem evaporated as the Reds tagged him for three home runs in the sixth inning of Friday night's 5-3 win over the Braves at SunTrust Park.

"I was attacking the strike zone and using all three of my pitches," Romano said. "I had a great mix tonight and was able to locate all my pitches. I worked really well with Tucker [Barnhart] and guys were able to make some plays."

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Jaylon Thompson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta and covered the Reds on Friday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Schebler back with Reds as Feldman hits DL

Schebler back with Reds as Feldman hits DL

ATLANTA -- The Reds' Scott Schebler rejoined the team Friday after a bruised left rotator cuff landed him on the disabled list on Aug. 1.

The shoulder had been bothering Schebler, 26, since he made a diving catch in shallow right field on June 3. He was given anti-inflammatories and placed on a strengthening program, but Schebler continued to struggle, posting a .077/.172/.154 slash line since the All-Star break.

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Megan Zahneis is a reporter for MLB.com.

Jaylon Thompson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta who covered the Reds on Friday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Seeing Red: 6 homers can't save Cubs

Seeing Red: 6 homers can't save Cubs

CHICAGO -- The Cubs belted six home runs, including back-to-back-to-back jacks in the fourth inning, to erase a nine-run deficit, but the Reds reclaimed the lead on rookie Phillip Ervin's tie-breaking, two-run homer in the seventh to secure a crazy 13-10 victory on Thursday at Wrigley Field that split the four-game series.

"When you score 10 runs today and lose, that's difficult to swallow," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ervin (3-for-4) seizing chance with clutch HRs

Ervin (3-for-4) seizing chance with clutch HRs

CHICAGO -- Heading into Wednesday night, Reds rookie outfielder Phillip Ervin had three call ups and no hits in the big leagues on his resume. In less than 24 hours, Ervin's statistical line dramatically changed.

During Thursday's wild 13-10 Reds win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field, Ervin was 3-for-4 with a walk and four RBIs. His two-run homer in the seventh inning against Justin Grimm snapped a 9-9 tie and helped his club stave off what would have been a demoralizing loss. On Wednesday with two outs in the top of the seventh and Cincinnati trailing by a 6-1 score, Ervin slugged Hector Rondon's first-pitch fastball for his first big league hit -- a home run that sparked a comeback effort in a 7-6 loss.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nearly Splendid: Votto shy of Splinter

Reds slugger reached twice in 20 straight games, one off Williams' record

Nearly Splendid: Votto shy of Splinter

CHICAGO -- A 69-year-old record streak held by Ted Williams remains his alone.

Reds first baseman Joey Votto's streak of reaching safely multiple times in a game ended at 20 games during a 7-6 loss to the Reds on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field. Votto was 1-for-4 with a first-inning single. Williams, the Red Sox great and Hall of Fame legend, owns the modern Major League record of reaching twice or more in 21 straight games, from May 31-June 24, 1948.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reds show rally power, but fall late to Cubs

Reds show rally power, but fall late to Cubs

CHICAGO -- Anthony Rizzo smacked a grand slam in the first inning and Javier Baez scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch with two outs in a wild ninth on Wednesday night to lift the Cubs to a 7-6 victory over the Reds.

With the game tied at 6 in the ninth, Baez doubled to lead off against Wandy Peralta. Pinch-hitter Jon Jay walked, and Ben Zobrist then trotted to first after being hit by a pitch. But first-base umpire Chris Conroy said Zobrist had shown bunt, which prompted an argument from Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who was ejected. Zobrist then grounded out, advancing both runners.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Votto's influence seen among Reds, and beyond

Votto's influence seen among Reds, and beyond

CHICAGO -- Joey Votto doesn't get a ton of extra attention as one of the best hitters in baseball, but the Reds' first baseman isn't working in a vacuum. Votto's teammates are watching, listening and, most importantly, learning.

"Basically everything I'm doing this year, I've watched him," Reds shortstop Zack Cozart said on Wednesday. "That's what I'm trying to implement into what I do. I've said it a thousand times, he's the best hitter in the game. You could poll people and when they talk about a guy who never gives away at-bats, he would be up at the top with almost everybody, I would think."

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reds mourn passing of longtime scout Bennett

Reds mourn passing of longtime scout Bennett

CHICAGO -- Gene Bennett, a longtime Reds scout who was beloved throughout baseball, passed away on Wednesday in his hometown of Portsmouth, Ohio, at the age of 89.

Bennett first joined the organization as a player in 1952 and began his scouting career in '58, becoming the team's scouting supervisor in '75. From 1992 until his retirement in 2011, he was a senior special assistant to the general manager.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

MLB's past, future displayed in Votto's game

MLB's past, future displayed in Votto's game

CHICAGO -- Rest easy, Ted Williams. Joey Votto didn't catch you. Not this time, anyway.

The Cubs held Votto to a first-inning single on Wednesday night, ending his streak of reaching base at least twice in a game at 20, one short of the record Williams set in 1948. But at age 33, with his status as one of the best (and smartest) hitters of his generation secure, time remains on Votto's side.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Young Castillo inspiring confidence in Reds

Facing defending champs for first time, righty allows only 2 singles, fans 7 over 6 stifling innings

Young Castillo inspiring confidence in Reds

CHICAGO -- The Cubs lead the Majors with 51 home runs since the All-Star break and scored 15 runs against the Reds on Monday night. For six innings on Tuesday, Reds rookie pitcher Luis Castillo shut them down while seeing Chicago for the first time.

Castillo gave up two singles during the Reds' 2-1 victory. The 24-year-old right-hander walked two and struck out seven while throwing only 80 pitches.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mesoraco (foot fracture) out for 3-6 weeks

Reds left thin at catcher; Ervin recalled for depth off bench

Mesoraco (foot fracture) out for 3-6 weeks

CHICAGO -- After an MRI exam in Cincinnati on Tuesday confirmed the diagnosis of a fractured left foot, the Reds placed catcher Devin Mesoraco on the 10-day disabled list. Outfielder Phillip Ervin was recalled from Triple-A Louisville to take the vacant roster spot.

Reds manager Bryan Price said Mesoraco would be out for 3-6 weeks, which could potentially mean that the injury-plagued 29-year-old may have another season cut short by injury. Mesoraco is currently on crutches and wearing a protective boot over the foot.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Trammell hits inside-the-park homer

Trammell hits inside-the-park homer

The hits just keep coming for Jahmai Jones.

The Angels' No. 2 prospect extended his hitting streak to 18 games on Tuesday with a leadoff double in Class A Advanced Inland Empire's 2-0 win over Lake Elsinore. He also hit a single and walked once in the contest, finishing 2-for-4 at the plate.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Votto foils shifty Cubs with remarkable double

Reds veteran avoids 4 outfielders, while reaching base at least twice in 19 straight games, 2 shy of MLB mark

Votto foils shifty Cubs with remarkable double

CHICAGO -- Maybe Cubs manager Joe Maddon thought he had the right amount of kryptonite to make Joey Votto look more mortal at the plate. During one of Votto's plate appearances in the Reds' 15-5 loss on Monday night at Wrigley Field, Maddon resorted to a recreation softball-type of alignment by using four outfielders to try and keep the Reds' first baseman off the bases.

The Cubs made the unusual shift in the top of the fifth inning, with one out and nobody on

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reds can't contain Cubs in opener at Wrigley

Reds can't contain Cubs in opener at Wrigley

CHICAGO -- Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo smacked back-to-back home runs, reliever Mike Montgomery hit his first career double, driving in two runs, and Jon Jay missed hitting for a natural cycle by a home run to power the Cubs to a 15-5 victory Monday night over the Reds at Wrigley Field.

With the win, the Cubs opened a 1 1/2-game lead over the idle Cardinals in the National League Central. This four-game series against the Reds is the beginning of a 13-game stretch for the Cubs against last-place teams.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

And he can pitch to boot: Scooter lends arm

Short starts and exhausted Reds 'pen prompt Gennett to log first Majors mound action

And he can pitch to boot: Scooter lends arm

CHICAGO -- A bullpen short on long relievers and a big deficit put Reds manager Bryan Price in a dreaded but inevitable position vs. the Cubs in Monday's four-game series opener. Price summoned second baseman Scooter Gennett to pitch the bottom of the eighth inning during a 15-5 loss at Wrigley Field.

Gennett took the mound after Chicago posted a six-run seventh that made it a 13-2 game. The Reds scored three in the top of the eighth, including Gennett's 20th long ball of the season, a two-run shot.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Votto threw a foul ball deep into the stands

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Votto threw a foul ball deep into the stands

Reds first baseman Joey Votto is very good at baseball, but sometimes he just takes a break from all that and does something really weird. 

The latest exhibit of evidence in support of that came in the third inning of Monday night's game against the Cubs. On a foul ball from Kyle Schwarber, Votto went over to pick it up and, instead of tossing it in the first row, he wound up to launch it into the Wrigley Field seats.

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MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Senzel leads Pipeline Team of the Week

Senzel leads Pipeline Team of the Week

MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances from the previous seven days. Any Minor Leaguer currently on an organization Top 30 Prospects list on our Prospect Watch is eligible.

Many scouts believed Nick Senzel was the best pure hitter available in the 2016 Draft, which is a major reason why the Reds selected him second overall and signed him for $6.2 million. He has lived up to that reputation, batting .317/.390/.519 with 89 extra-base hits in his first 177 pro games.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Romano, Reds find positives in early struggles

Rookie right-hander allows six earned runs in loss to Brewers

Romano, Reds find positives in early struggles

MILWAUKEE -- The Reds have lost each of the last four games Sal Romano has started and six of his eight starts in the Majors. That includes Sunday's 7-4 defeat to the Brewers.

As has been the case with several Reds rookie starters in 2017, Cincinnati is looking for glimmers of development and stepping stones in each start amid the mounting losses. While Romano hasn't been good at times, there have been moments where he was. The 23-year-old Romano is 2-5 with a 6.05 ERA.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Duvall homers for 2nd straight game in defeat

Duvall homers for 2nd straight game in defeat

MILWAUKEE -- Was it the meeting that got the Brewers' bats going? Or three games against the pitching-challenged Reds?

Whatever the answer, the Brewers emerged from a players-only chat in the wake of Thursday's listless loss to the Twins to score 23 runs and hit seven home runs while taking two of three games from the Reds, including a 7-4 win on Sunday at sold-out Miller Park.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.