Blue Jays 3 Reds 2
CINCINNATI, Ohio — Adam Lind’s back has still not completely healed, but there’s nothing wrong with his swing.
Lind homered for the fourth straight game on Friday night, hitting a tie-breaking two-run shot in the seventh inning, and the Toronto Blue Jays held on for a 3-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds that featured bothersome birds and a misplayed flyball.
Lind’s homer off Mike Leake (6-3) marked the 11th time in Blue Jays history that a player homered in four straight. He’s gone on a tear since missing nearly a month on the disabled list with a sore back, one that’s still a little sore in the morning sometimes.
“When you have that kind of a swing and you’re swinging at strikes, as he’s doing — that pure of a swing and that kind of power can produce what you’re seeing,” manager John Farrell said.
“What Adam’s doing is tremendous.”
Lind wasn’t happy with his meek swings in April, and started pulling the ball more. A stiff back sent him to the disabled list on May 8, but it was mostly healed when he returned on June 3. He went right back to driving the ball as hard as he could.
Since coming off the DL, he’s batting .413 with eight homers and 17 RBIs.
“I quit trying to feel my way out there,” he said. “I wasn’t swinging with a lot of authority out there.”
Jo-Jo Reyes (3-5) gave up a pair of solo homers, including Drew Stubbs’ inside-the-park dash off a misplayed fly. Frank Francisco gave up a single in the ninth before finishing for his seventh save in 10 chances.
Reyes has won three of his past four starts, an encouraging sign for a pitcher who went 28 starts between wins, matching the longest such slump in major league history. Toronto got the left-hander from Atlanta in a trade.
“We have a great group of guys,” Reyes said. “They’ve welcomed me from spring training. I’ve taken off from there. I feel wanted here. It’s been awesome.”
The Jays weren’t the only birds on the field. Three pigeons roamed the infield together most of the game. At one point, Leake left the mound and tried to shoo them away, but they didn’t go far.
Toronto’s first visit since 2003 — the inaugural season at Great American Ball Park — became a spotlight for the Blue Jays’ hottest hitter.
Jose Bautista’s RBI double tied it 1-1 in the seventh. Lind hit the next pitch over the wall in centre, his sixth homer in his past 10 games. The last Blue Jay to homer in four straight was Edwin Encarnacion Sept. 30-Oct. 3.
“I’ve never been one of those guys who equate a quality start with a good outing,” Leake said. “I threw two bad pitches. Other than that, I thought I threw a good game.”
Otherwise, Leake got the Blue Jays to hit the ball into the ground and let one of the NL’s top defences make the plays. The best: Gold Glove second baseman Brandon Phillips went behind second base to get J.P. Arencibia’s grounder and threw him out from the grass in shallow centre field as he fell down.
Phillips also threw John McDonald out at the plate when he tried to score from third base on a ground ball, keeping Toronto’s lead at 3-2.
Toronto’s defence was lacking in the sixth.
Stubbs hit a high flyball to the warning track. Bautista drifted over from right, waved his arm and called for it, and centre-fielder Corey Patterson headed for the ball, too. Both pulled up at the last instant, letting the ball drop safely.
Stubbs slowed while he rounded first base, expecting the ball to be caught. He rounded the bases standing up after shortstop Yunel Escobar failed to come up with the relay throw cleanly.
Scott Rolen also hit a solo homer, his first since April 7, off Reyes in the seventh. The left-hander gave up six hits and a pair of runs in 6 1-3 innings.