Tuesday, May 30, 2017

{allcanada} Morales hits go-ahead homer as Blue Jays top Reds


TORONTO — Kendrys Morales hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning to power the Toronto Blue Jays to a 6-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday at Rogers Centre.

It was one of four Toronto homers on the night. Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Russell Martin all went deep in the Blue Jays' four-run fourth inning.

Morales turned on a 1-0 pitch from Blake Wood (0-3) for his 10th home run of the season. Closer Roberto Osuna worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 10th save.

Toronto (25-27) has won seven of its last eight games and improved to 4-1 on its 10-game homestand. The Blue Jays will go for a sweep of the three-game interleague series on Wednesday afternoon.

The Reds (24-27) hit three homers of their own. Zack Cozart and Toronto native Joey Votto hit back-to-back solo shots off Blue Jays southpaw J.A. Happ in the first inning.

Cozart's sixth homer of the year was to straightaway centre while Votto's blast — his 13th — landed nearby in the second level of seats.

Votto showed off his defensive skills at first base in the following frame. He dived to his left to snare a Justin Smoak liner and stepped on the bag to double off Morales.

Happ, meanwhile, was helped by Troy Tulowitzki's stellar defence in the third inning. With the bases loaded, Scott Schebler lashed a ball that the veteran shortstop short-hopped on his backhand side before making a strong throw to keep it a two-run game.

In the fourth, Donaldson launched a rocket off Reds rookie Asher Wojciechowski to become the ninth different Blue Jay to reach the 500 level at Rogers Centre. His third homer of the season was a two-run shot and Bautista followed it up by crushing his 10th home run of the year.

Morales nearly made it three straight homers but Schebler tracked down the deep fly ball at the wall in right field. Martin added his fifth home run of the season later in the frame.

Happ, activated earlier in the day after a six-week stint on the disabled list with a left elbow injury, pitched four innings and reached his usual low-90s with his fastball. He allowed three hits, three walks, two earned runs and had three strikeouts.

Cozart cut into Toronto's lead with a solo homer off Danny Barnes in the fifth inning. The Reds tied the game in the seventh when a Billy Hamilton single brought home Jose Peraza from third base.

Ezequiel Carrera prevented further damage in the seventh when he made a brilliant diving catch in left field. The earned run ended Toronto reliever Ryan Tepera's scoreless inning streak at 19 frames.

Toronto's Aaron Loup came on for the eighth and was pulled after giving up a leadoff double to Schebler. Sidearmer Joe Smith (1-0) gave up an infield single but didn't allow the Reds to push the go-ahead run across.

Announced attendance was 32,747 and the game took two hours 53 minutes to play.

Notes: The Blue Jays confirmed they plan to start Francisco Liriano on Friday against the New York Yankees. He has been on the DL since May 11 due to a shoulder injury. Joe Biagini is now tabbed to start Saturday with Marcus Stroman set for Sunday. ... The Blue Jays optioned reliever Dominic Leone to triple-A Buffalo to make room for Happ on the roster. ... The Reds recalled right-hander Jackson Stephens from triple-A Louisville before the game and optioned Robert Stephenson to the Bats.

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