By HAL McCOY
After hitting five home runs Sunday in Philadelphia, two each by Adam Duvall (five RBI) and Patrick Kivlehan, the Cincinnati Reds matriculated north to Toronto and had the tables turned on them and slammed on their heads.
It was not a memorable day on Memorial Day for the Reds against the Blue Jays. The Jays hit three home runs in the first four innings, including a grand slam by Troy Tulowitzki and a three-run rip by Justin Smoak.
AND WHEN THE SMOKE cleared, the Reds were laid to waste, 17-2, in Rogers Centre. In addition to scoring the most runs against the Reds in a game this season, the Jays had 23 hits, most against the Reds this season. A Reds team had not given up that many hits since the Atlanta Braves collected 25 on May 1, 1985 in old Riverfront Stadium.
The mess was created by Reds starter Lisalverto Bonilla, who lasted only 2 1/3 innings and threw more balls than strikes. He threw 67 pitches, only 31 for strikes, went to three balls on nine hitters and walked five.
BILLY HAMILTON, SUDDENLY ADEPT at bunting for a hit, started the game with a bunt single, just as he did Sunday during an 8-4 victory over the Phillies.
And he stole second base, his league-leading 27th theft, and scored on Adam Duvall’s two-out single.
That 1-0 lead only lasted until the Jays came to bat in the bottom of the second when they scored twice.
Justin Smoak singled and Russell Martin homered down the right field line, just over the fence and just inside the foul pole for a 2-1 Jays lead.
The seams all ripped apart for Bonilla and Robert Stephenson in the third.
It began with an excuse-me dribbler up the third base line for an infield hit by Josh Donaldson.
After a wild pitch, Bonilla walked both Jose Bautista and Kendrys Morales to load the bases.
ONE RUN SCORED ON AN infield out, but Bonilla refilled the bases with another walk on four pitches to Russell Martin.
Manager Bryan Price had seen more than enough and brought in Stephenson. His second pitch to Tulowitzki crash landed in the left field seats, a grand slam home run and a 7-1 lead.
The mess continued in the fourth when Stephenson gave up a one-out double to Bautista, a walk to Morales and Smoak’s three-run home run to right and it was 10-1.
And the ugliness got worse in the fifth and Stephenson didn’t make it out of the inning due to a balk, an obstruction call on Eugenio Suarez during a rundown play and Stephenson missing the bag while covering first base on a grounder.
Stephenson got one out in the fifth and gave up three more runs before newly acquired pitcher Jake Buchanan came in as the Reds 21st different pitcher this year to get the final two outs. Buchanan, though, was touched for two runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth.
In five innings the Jays had 13 runs and 14 hits and twice batted around in an inning.
STEPHENSON’S APPEARANCE WAS brief and eventful appearance by giving up seven runs and 10 hits in two innings pushing his earned run average to 8.03.
And it wasn’t a fun return to his home country by Joey Votto, who was honored before the game accepting the prestigious Canadian Tip O’Neill Award as the country’s best professional baseball player. He threw out the ceremonial first pitch, then went 0 for 3 and left the game after the top of the sixth as Price began sprinkling his lineup with extra players.
Hitting streaks took a beating, too. Jose Peraza’s 13-game streak ended and Zack Cozart’s 11-game streak came to a halt.
Toronto ace Marcus Stroman held the Reds to two runs and five hits, with no walks and five strikeouts in six innings.
The only Reds hitter to really solve him was Adam Duvall, who homered in the sixth, his 14th of the season and fifth in his last five games.