Travis hits tiebreaking homer, Jays sweep Reds with 5-4 win
TORONTO (AP) — After a hot month of May returned the Blue Jays to respectability, the start of June will bring a stiff test: a visit from the first-place New York Yankees.
Devon Travis hit a tiebreaking two-run home run in the seventh inning, Luke Maile also hit a two-run shot, and Toronto beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-4 on Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep.
Jason Grilli (2-4) pitched one inning for the victory as the Blue Jays won for the eighth time in nine games and finished May at 18-10.
After winning eight of their final nine games in May, the Blue Jays welcome the AL East-leading Yankees for a four-game series starting Thursday.
“It would be nice to continue playing well right now,” manager John Gibbons said. “The timing would be perfect. We’ll see.”
Toronto was 8-17 in April, but bounced back to finish May at 26-27 thanks to a barrage of home runs, 49 in total.
“In the American League, especially in our division, you’ve got to hit home runs,” Gibbons said. “That’s the key.”
The Blue Jays hit nine homers in sweeping the Reds. Toronto won 6-4 Tuesday when Kendrys Morales hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth.
“We had a hard time keeping them in the ballpark,” Cincinnati manager Bryan Price said. “When they needed that big homer in this series, they got it.”
Joe Smith worked the eighth and Roberto Osuna survived a shaky ninth for his 11th save.
Scott Schebler homered on Osuna’s first pitch, his NL-leading 16th. A single, Ryan Goins’ fielding error, and a stolen base gave the Reds runners at second and third with one out, but Osuna preserved the win by striking out Billy Hamilton and Zack Cozart.
“The tendency is to get on the defensive and he didn’t do that,” catcher Maile said of Osuna. “He really made good pitches when he had to.”
Travis, whose 13-game hitting streak ended Tuesday, snapped an 0-for-6 slump by connecting off Wandy Peralta (2-1).
“I was doing my best to just battle him,” Travis said. “I was just trying to put the ball in play and he was making pitch after pitch.”
Joey Votto hit a two-run homer for the Reds, who lost for the fourth time in five games.
Votto homered for the second straight game when he connected off Mike Bolsinger in the first, his 14th.
Toronto halved the deficit in the bottom half on Morales’ sacrifice fly, but Cincinnati’s Jose Peraza made it 3-1 with an RBI double in the second.
The Blue Jays tied it on Maile’s drive off Tim Adelman in the fifth.
Travis homered on a two-out, full-count pitch in the seventh inning, his fifth.
Home plate umpire Carlos Torres went down in pain after taking Chris Coghlan’s foul tip off his left knee in the fourth. Torres received attention from the Blue Jays training staff and was able to continue.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
The Reds have scored in the first inning of six straight games, the first time they’ve done that since August 25-30, 1999.
Thanks to a crowd of 44,058, Toronto became the first AL team to draw at least one million fans this season (1,014,651). The Blue Jays rank fourth in total attendance, trailing San Francisco, St. Louis, and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
IN THE MAILE
Two of Maile’s four hits this season have been home runs. His blast Wednesday snapped an 0-for-13 skid.
Reds: LHP Amir Garrett (right hip) is expected to throw a bullpen session on Thursday’s off day and could return next week, manager Bryan Price said.
Blue Jays: 3B Josh Donaldson and SS Troy Tulowitzki were held out of the starting lineup for the matinee series finale. Both returned from the DL last Friday.
Reds: After an off day Thursday, RHP Bronson Arroyo (3-4, 6.62) gets the start Friday as Cincinnati returns home to begin a three-game series against Atlanta. Arroyo is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in his past four starts. RHP Mike Foltynewicz (3-5, 4.44) will start for the Braves.
Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (4-2, 3.15) starts the opener of a four-game series against the first-place Yankees. Estrada is 3-0 with a 3.16 ERA in his past four outings. LHP CC Sabathia (5-2, 4.42) starts for New York.
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