Saturday, June 21, 2014
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Jays complete historic comeback vs. Reds

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[June 21, 2014]  CINCINNATI -- The Toronto Blue Jays trailed by eight runs after just two innings on Friday night. But once the Blue Jays started scoring, they didn't stop until the second-largest comeback in franchise history was complete.

First baseman Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run homer in both the third and ninth innings, sparking Toronto to a historic 14-9 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the opener of a three-game series at Great American Ball Park.

"What a ballgame," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. "Those things are some kind of rare. We're down 8-0 and I'm thinking how we're going to get through this with the pitching. Then we just exploded. You may never see another one like that. We hope it leads to something."

Catcher Devin Mesoraco and right fielder Jay Bruce homered for Cincinnati (35-37) which blew an eight-run lead for the first time since 2010.

"Fortunately, it's only one loss," said Reds manager Bryan Price. "It's an ugly type of loss. It's the type of loss that affects everybody. They did a good job. We didn't extend the lead. We got just the one run after the second. We didn't create the separation that we needed to win the game. We've got to get over it and come back with a counterpunch tomorrow."

Dustin McGowan (4-2) earned the victory. Aroldis Chapman (0-2) took the loss.

A trio of former Reds factored heavily in Toronto's comeback.

Encarnacion, who spent his first five big-league seasons in Cincinnati, had his sixth multi-home run game this season, Juan Francisco hit a pinch-hit, two-run home run in the seventh and catcher Dioner Navarro had a RBI double in the eighth to tie the score 9-9.

Third baseman Brett Lawrie added a solo home run in the seventh.

Lawrie's solo home run off rookie right-hander Jumbo Diaz, who was making his major league debut, made the score 9-6 in the seventh.

Diaz also gave up Francisco's two-out, two-run home run on a 2-2 pitch just inside the left field foul pole, making the score 9-8.

Toronto capped the comeback with a five-run ninth inning, highlighted by Encarnacion's 422-foot, three-run bomb off Sam LeCure.

Reds starter Mat Latos, making his second appearance since coming off the disabled list, allowed five runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings.

"I couldn't find the release point on my off-speed stuff," said Latos. "Then frustration got the best of me. I couldn't find it on my fastball either. I don't like taxing the bullpen. I'm extremely disappointed in myself."

After escaping a first-inning jam when second baseman Brandon Phillips grounded into an inning-ending double play, Blue Jays starter Liam Hendriks wouldn't make it through the second.

Four straight hits sparked an eight-run frame for Cincinnati beginning with Mesoraco's 11th home run, a two-run shot to left that put the Reds ahead 2-0.

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Left fielder Skip Schumaker scored from third on Latos' groundout to make the score 3-0, followed by center fielder Billy Hamilton's RBI double driving in the fourth run.

Hendriks, who allowed six earned runs on six hits in 1 2/3 innings, was a spectator for the Blue Jays' offensive surge.

"I came in the clubhouse to gather my thoughts," Hendriks said. "Then I came back out and we just started scoring. You can't count out this offense."

Phillips' bloop two-run single and Bruce's two-run home run off Todd Redmond made the score 8-0, a seemingly insurmountable deficit for Toronto, which had scored three runs or fewer in nine of its previous 13 games.

But Encarnacion made the score 8-3 in the third with his 22nd home run, a three-run shot to left. And, the rally was on.

"It got everyone feeling that we could come back," said Encarnacion of his first homer. "We got emotional. It's a great feeling. I played here for five years. It's great to come back here and play well."

NOTES: The Reds relinquished an eight-run lead for the first time since May 20, 2010, when they lost 10-9 at Atlanta. ... It was the largest comeback for the Blue Jays since June 4, 1989 when they rallied from a 10-0 deficit to win 13-11 in 12 innings. ... Cincinnati scored eight runs in an inning for the first time since April 21, 2013 in the seventh against Miami. ... The Reds selected from Triple-A Louisville the contract of RHP Jumbo Diaz and optioned LHP Tony Cingrani to Triple-A. ... Reds RHP Brett Marshall, who has been on the disabled list since March 30 with a strained tendon in his middle finger, was reinstated from the 60-day DL and optioned to Triple-A. ... Reds LHP Sean Marshall will have surgery on Tuesday to debride his left shoulder. ... Blue Jay RHP Liam Hendriks was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo on Friday, and RHP Steve Delebar was optioned to Triple-A.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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