A 14-9 Reds defeat to Toronto at Great American Ball Park came after they blew an 8-0 lead after an eight-run second inning. It was a five-run ninth by the Blue Jays that put them away -- capped by former Red Edwin Encarnacion's second three-run homer of the night.
"Fortunately, tonight's loss counts as one loss. Unfortunately, it was an ugly loss," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "And that is one of the types of losses that affects everybody."
The last time Cincinnati blew an eight-run lead for a loss was on May 20, 2010, when they couldn't protect leads of 8-0 and 9-1 before a 10-9 loss at Atlanta. In that game, the Braves scored seven runs in the ninth and walked off on a grand slam. In Friday's defeat, you could see it building.
To autopsy this one, start with the pitching. The Reds' staff gave up 16 hits and nine walks. Fourteen of the hits came after the Reds had the eight-run lead. Of the 14 runs Toronto scored, 11 came with two outs. The bullpen, perhaps overworked from a 12-inning marathon loss at Pittsburgh on Thursday, gave up six of the walks.
On the hitting side, after the Reds sent 11 men to the plate and scored their eight runs in the second, they notched only two more hits and a walk the rest of the game.
The scoring in the second was bookended by a pair of two-run home runs -- one by Devin Mesoraco on a first pitch off starter Liam Hendriks, and the other by Jay Bruce on a first pitch from reliever Todd Redmond.
Against the first-place Blue Jays, which have the second-most runs scored in the American League and the most home runs hit in the Majors, the Reds couldn't afford to feel comfortable.
"In this ballpark with the lineup that they have over there, I think we knew we had to keep adding on," Mesoraco said. "Give their bullpen some credit. They held us down. They were able to limit us from adding on, which was important."
Reds starter Mat Latos was charged with five earned runs and nine hits over 5 2/3 innings in his second start of the season. Latos walked three and struck out two. Following a two-out double and a walk in the top of the third inning, Encarnacion hit his first three-run homer to left field, and the Toronto comeback was on.
"I don't like taxing the bullpen. I'm extremely disappointed in myself to put it mildly," Latos said.
It was a 9-3 Reds lead after five innings when Toronto scored two runs in the sixth, chased Latos and started nibbling away on the bullpen. After Latos gave up three straight one-out hits for one run, Manny Parra walked his lone batter Cabrera on four pitches with two outs to load the bases. Logan Ondrusek then walked Jose Bautista to force in another run and make it a 9-5 game.
Jumbo Diaz made his Major League debut for the Reds in the seventh and was welcomed by giving up two long balls. Second batter Brett Lawrie hit a 98-mph fastball the opposite way for a solo homer to right field. Munenori Kawasaki fought Diaz in a 10-pitch at-bat and squeaked a single up the middle before Juan Francisco made it a one-run game with a two-run homer inside the left-field foul pole. Jonathan Broxton walked Encarnacion with two outs in the eighth and paid for it when Dioner Navarro lined a game-tying RBI double to the left-center field gap.
In the ninth where Aroldis Chapman gave up four runs and two walks, Erik Kratz's RBI double to left field scored the go-ahead run. Melky Cabrera added another run with his two-out RBI single to right field. Once Chapman was chased after he walked Bautista, Encarnacion's 23rd homer of the season -- a long shot to left field off Sam LeCure -- provided the exclamation point as the Blue Jays had the second-largest come-from-behind win in team history.
We had that emotion like we feel like we could come back from the game 8-0," Encarnacion said. "Everybody in the dugout was playing to push for the game, try to do the best that we can do."
After that blown lead and loss in Atlanta four years ago, the Reds overcame it quickly and won seven of their next nine games.
"You can't dwell on it. We lost," Mesoraco said. "Nothing we can do about it at this point but go out there and try to get a win tomorrow."