Created on Saturday, 21 June 2014 Written by JOE KAY, AP Baseball Writer
CINCINNATI (AP) — For the first time in four years, the Reds let an eight-run lead slip away.
Mat Latos struggled in his second start since coming off the disabled list, and Cincinnati's bullpen couldn't hold on at the end, allowing Toronto to rally for a 14-9 victory on Friday night.
Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run homer to start the second-biggest comeback in Toronto's history, then completed it with another three-run shot as the Blue Jays pulled away with five runs in the ninth inning.
The Reds' pitching meltdown wasted a chance to get back to .500 for the fourth time this season. Cincinnati has yet to have a winning record.
It was the first time the Reds blew an eight-run lead and lost since May 20, 2010, at Atlanta, a 10-9 defeat. The Reds gave up a season-high nine walks.
"I don't know what it is," manager Bryan Price said. "Fortunately, it's only one loss. It's an ugly type of loss. It's the type of loss that affects everybody."
Toronto hit four homers during its comeback, including the two by the major leagues' home run leader.
The Reds scored eight times in the second, their biggest inning of the season.
Encarnacion started the comeback by connecting in the third inning off Mat Latos and finished it with his 23rd homer off Sam LeCure during the five-run ninth inning.
"After the (first) three-run homer, we got the emotion back," said Encarnacion, who set a career high with his six RBIs. "We were feeling like we could come back after that."
Brett Lawrie and Juan Francisco also homered for Toronto.
Toronto overcame a 10-run deficit to beat Boston 13-11 in 12 innings in 1989.
With the score tied at 9, Aroldis Chapman (0-2) came on to pitch the ninth and walked leadoff hitter Colby Rasmus. Erik Kratz doubled off the wall in left field to break the tie, and then came around on Melky Cabrera's single.
Chapman was replaced after getting only two outs. Encarnacion completed the big comeback and his sixth multihomer game of the season.
Dustin McGowan (4-2) pitched a perfect eighth. Casey Janssen retired the three batters he faced in the ninth for his 13th save in 15 chances.
The comeback boosted the Blue Jays out of a recent funk. They were swept for the first time this season at Yankee Stadium and had dropped nine of their last 12.
The Blue Jays called up Liam Hendriks to start in place of R.A. Dickey, getting two extra days to rest a sore groin. The Reds knocked him out in the second inning while sending 11 batters to the plate for an 8-0 lead, their biggest inning of the season.
Devin Mesoraco started the rally with a two-run homer and Jay Bruce finished it with a two-run shot. Bruce also singled as the Reds piled up seven hits and a walk.
Latos made his second start since returning from the disabled list and wasn't sharp. He gave up nine hits, three walks and Encarnacion's three-run homer during 5 2-3 innings.
"I couldn't find the release point on my off-speed stuff," said Latos, who threw 97 pitches. "Then frustration got the best of me. I couldn't find it on my fastball either.
"You've heard me say it many times: I don't like taxing the bullpen. I'm extremely disappointed in myself."
Reliever Jumbo Diaz made his major league debut in the seventh and gave up Lawrie's solo homer and Francisco's two-run shot, cutting it to 9-8. Toronto then tied it in the eighth on Dioner Navarro's double off Jonathan Broxton.
NOTES: LHP J.A. Happ (6-3) faces RHP Mike Leake (4-6) on Saturday. Leake lost his only other career start against the Blue Jays in 2011. ... The Blue Jays optioned RHP Steve Delabar to Triple-A Buffalo to open a spot for Hendriks. ... Encarnacion has 21 homers during 42 games since May 6, the most in the majors over that span. ... The Reds optioned LHP Tony Cingrani to Triple-A Louisville and called up Diaz. They also moved LHP Sean Marshall to the 60-day DL. Marshall will have shoulder surgery on Tuesday.