CINCINNATI — Nick Castellanos came out swinging with his bat a day after being ejected for inciting a bench-clearing melee, hitting a three-run homer and triple to lead the Cincinnati Reds to a 12-1 rout over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.
Tyler Naquin also a three-run shot for the Reds, who won two in a row to take the opening series in matchup of NL Central teams that earned wild-card spots last season.
The fiery Castellanos flexed and jawed at St. Louis reliever Jake Woodford after scoring on a wild pitch on Saturday night. Catcher Yadier Molina took exception, grabbed Castellanos and a series of scuffles ensued that spilled into the outfield. Castellanos was the only player tossed.
There was no spillover from the trouble in the wrap-up game.
Castellanos kept up his big series with a triple in the fourth inning, scoring on a single by Votto. Then with two on and two outs in the fifth, he hit a 91 mph fastball from Carlos Martinez (0-1) into the Reds bullpen in left- centre field for a 4-1 lead.
Castellanos went 6 for 11 in the series, scoring six runs and driving in five. He homered twice, tripled and doubled.
Naquin, who started in left field for the ailing Jesse Winker, homered into the right-field seats during a six-run sixth inning.
Reds starter Jeff Hoffman (1-0), acquired from the Colorado Rockies in an off-season trade, gave up a just run on three hits through five innings and struck out six.
St. Louis scored its lone run in the fifth when Tyler O'Neill doubled and Molina singled, the only time Reds pitching allowed the Cardinals back-to-back hits.
Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson, getting his first start, had three hits and scored three times. Alex Blandino drove in two runs.
Cardinals: Manager Mike Shildt said LHP Kwang Hyun Kim (back) will throw in a simulated game on Tuesday, and RHP Miles Mikolas (right shoulder) would soon report to the team's alternate site to continue rehab. Both pitchers started the season on the 10-day disabled list.
Reds: Winker left Saturday's game because he wasn't feeling well, and didn't play Sunday. Manager David Bell didn't provide any other details.
Cardinals: Send RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon against Marlins LHP Trevor Rogers in the first of a three-game set in Miami.
Reds: Start RHP José De León against Pittsburgh RHP JT Brubaker as their homestand continues with a three-game series against the Pirates.
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Mitch Stacy, The Associated Press