Reds 7, Blue Jays 5
Joey Votto made sure the Cincinnati Reds didn't get swept out of his hometown. Votto had a tiebreaking home run among his four hits and the Reds avoided a sweep, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 7-5 on Thursday night. Born in suburban Toronto, Votto came in 2 for 18 in five career games here but turned that around by doubling home a run in the first, hitting an RBI single in the second, reaching on a leadoff single in the fourth and homering to begin the sixth. "Boy, that was some performance in front of his home people here in Toronto," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. Votto said snapping Cincinnati's four-game losing streak meant more than playing well before friends and family. "Getting the W today is far more important," Votto added. "I wish we'd had a better series in Games 1 and 2 but playing well today and contributing to the win was really big for me." Batting cleanup for the first time this season, Votto's homer was his first since May 26, against Houston. He returned to the lineup Tuesday after missing 21 games because of stress and anxiety issues related to his father's death last August. "It was nice feeling good without having to think about the problems I've been having," Votto said. "I felt like yesterday was a good step and today was an even better step." Votto, who struck out in his final at-bat, had his second four-hit game of the season and the third of his career. "It's good to get back here and have a night like he did," Reds outfielder Jay Bruce said. "Everyone knows what he's capable of. Getting four hits anytime is tough. He's a big part of our lineup and it's good to have him back." Right-hander Johnny Cueto (7-4) allowed five runs and five hits in six innings for the win and improved to 6-2 on the road. Nick Masset and David Weathers each pitched one inning of relief and Francisco Cordero finished it in the ninth for his 18th save in 19 chances. The loss went to Toronto righty Shawn Camp (0-3), who had pitched three scoreless innings before giving up Votto's homer. Cincinnati jumped in front with a four-run first against Blue Jays rookie left-hander Brett Cecil, doing all its damage with two outs. Votto and Jonny Gomes had RBI doubles and Bruce capped it with a two-run double off the wall in left. "The first part of the game is what really got us," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. "Cecil didn't have his good stuff out there. He didn't have good command." Aaron Hill got one back for Toronto with a solo homer in the bottom half that bounced off the top of the wall and went out. It was Hill's 17th homer of the season, matching his career high. Votto hit an RBI single in the second to make it 5-1 but Toronto tied it with a four-run fifth. After Cueto loaded the bases with two walks and a single, Vernon Wells hit a two-run double to left and Scott Rolen followed with a two-run single up the middle. The single extended his hitting streak to 14 games, matching a career high. Leading again thanks to Votto's ninth homer, the Reds added an insurance run in the eighth off Brandon League, when Paul Janish doubled and later scored on Willy Taveras' squeeze bunt. Taveras came in batting .104 (11 for 106) in his previous 26 games but went 3 for 5 with a double and two singles. "He's been working on his stroke and working on his bunting," Baker said. "You like to see guys working but you like to see them get rewarded with a good performance for their work. That was big for us tonight." Rolen had the defensive play of the night, making a diving stop on Jerry Hairston's grounder and throwing to first from his knees. On Wednesday, Rolen made a leaping catch on Hairston's eighth inning liner with runners at first and second. NOTES: The Reds announced they will call up RHP Homer Bailey from Triple-A Louisville to start Saturday at Cleveland. A first-round pick in 2004, Bailey was 8-5 with a 2.71 ERA in 14 games at Triple-A. He made one start for the Reds this season, May 23 against the Indians, allowing six runs and walking six in 4 1-3 innings. ... Toronto RHP Jeremy Accardo (groin) was not available for the third straight game.