Joey Votto hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning and the Cincinnati Reds held on to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2, avoiding a three-game sweep
TORONTO — Joey Votto hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning and the Cincinnati Reds held on to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 on Sunday, avoiding a three-game sweep.
The one-run win was the second of the season for the Reds. Cincinnati has won nine of 15 following a 3-22 start.
Toronto failed to complete a sweep after winning the first two games of a series for the fourth time this season and the second time this homestand. The Blue Jays dropped last Wednesday’s series finale to Seattle after victories Monday and Tuesday.
Votto, who is from suburban Toronto, went deep for the fourth time in 12 career games at Rogers Centre.
The one-out solo drive to right field off Yimi Garcia (0-3) was Votto’s first home run of the season, and his third extra-base hit in three games since being activated off the injured list following a bout with COVID-19.
Alexis Diaz (2-0) worked two scoreless innings and Art Warren finished for his second save in four chances.
Making his major league debut in place of right-hander Connor Overton (back), Reds right-hander Graham Ashcraft allowed two runs and four hits in 4 1/3 innings. He walked two and struck out three.
Ashcraft’s first pitch was his hardest of the day, a 99.7 mph strike to George Springer.
Blue Jays left-hander Yusei Kikuchi walked three of the first four batters he faced, and five of the first seven Reds reached safely to begin the game, with Cincinnati taking a 2-0 lead on Aristides Aquino’s two-run double. Kikuchi escaped his second bases-loaded jam of the inning by striking out Taylor Motter.
Toronto answered in the second when Santiago Espinal hit a leadoff double and scored on Matt Chapman’s single, then tied it by scoring without a hit in the third. George Springer was hit by a pitch to start the inning, went to second on a wild pitch from Ashcraft, and scored on Bo Bichette’s RBI groundout.
Blue Jays pinch runner Vinny Capra was thrown out at second with Springer batting to end the sixth, while Cincinnati’s Tyler Stephenson was picked off first after his two-out single moved a runner into scoring position in the seventh.
Springer raced into right center field to catch Kyle Farmer’s deep drive in the sixth.
Reds: LHP Mike Minor (shoulder) will make a fourth rehab start at Triple-A Louisville before rejoining the Reds. Minor allowed four runs and nine hits over 4 2/3 innings in a loss to Nashville Friday.
Reds: Cincinnati has not named a starter for Monday’s home game, the opener of a four-game series against the Cubs. RHP Marcus Stroman (1-4, 4.88) starts for Chicago.
Blue Jays: RHP José Berríos (3-2, 4.83) will start at St. Louis Monday night as Toronto begins a two-game series. RHP Miles Mikolas (3-2, 1.68) goes for the Cardinals.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports