Blue Jays 5 Reds 4
Toronto’s Devon Travis was determined to control the pace of his at-bat in a seventh-inning showdown with Wandy Peralta on Wednesday afternoon.
The Cincinnati reliever kept throwing to first base and Travis called timeout a few times to keep his routine intact while eventually working the count full. After a few foul balls, Travis drilled a tiebreaking two-run homer that helped Toronto to a 5-4 victory.
“It’s something I’ve learned from watching a lot of these guys hit,” Travis said. “Honestly I think that might have been my first time really ever taking to that. So that was pretty good.”
It’s all part of the maturation process for the young second baseman.
Travis has enjoyed a scorching May after a sluggish April and his play is a big reason why the Blue Jays have won eight of their last nine games.
“He’s driving the baseball,” said Toronto manager John Gibbons. “He’s hitting a lot of doubles and he’s hit a handful of home runs. He’s a good hitter, (that’s) the bottom line.
“He’s going to be a good hitter his whole career. (April) was just one of those tough months, but that’s all forgotten now.”
Travis’s fifth homer of the season gave him 20 extra-base hits for the month. Catcher Luke Maile also hit a two-run homer for the Blue Jays, who swept the three-game series to improve to 5-1 on their 10-game homestand.
Toronto has gone deep at least once in nine of their last 10 games.
“We had a hard time keeping them in the ballpark this series,” said Reds manager Bryan Price. “They hit a lot of home runs.”
Starter Mike Bolsinger pitched into the sixth inning as Toronto (26-27) moved within a game of the .500 mark. Jason Grilli (2-4) worked an inning of relief for the win and Roberto Osuna survived a nervous ninth before nailing down his 11th save.
Toronto native Joey Votto hit a two-run shot in the first inning for the Reds (24-28). It was his 14th homer of the season.
Cincinnati starter Tim Adleman allowed three earned runs over six innings while Peralta (2-1) shouldered the loss.
In the ninth, Scott Schebler took Osuna’s first pitch over the wall for his National League-leading 16th home run of the year. The Reds put two runners in scoring position later in the frame after Ryan Goins made a rare error on a potential double-play ball.
Osuna picked up his shortstop by striking out Billy Hamilton and Zack Cozart to end the game.
“We knew we needed a punch-out and that’s what he was able to do,” Maile said.
The Blue Jays have won six straight interleague games and improved to 15-12 at Rogers Centre this season.
Toronto infielders Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki were given rest days after playing the night before. Both players returned to the lineup this week after stints on the disabled list.
Announced attendance was 44,058 and the game took two hours 53 minutes to play. Toronto will open a four-game series Thursday against the American League East division-leading New York Yankees.
Notes: Cincinnati has scored at least one run in the first inning of six straight games. The Reds’ last such streak was from Aug. 25-30, 1999. … The game was delayed in the fourth inning when a Chris Coghlan foul tip caught home plate umpire Carlos Torres flush in the left leg. Torres was down for a few minutes but stayed in the game. … Toronto right-hander Marco Estrada (4-2, 3.15 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Blue Jays on Thursday against southpaw CC Sabathia (5-2, 4.42) … Blue Jays starter Francisco Liriano is tabbed to come off the disabled list (shoulder) ahead of his start Friday.