Blue Jays, Reds play one for the books
Teams combine for 23 runs as Toronto completes second-largest franchise comeback
CINCINNATI -- Friday's Interleague series opener between the Blue Jays and Reds became a night to remember, as the Reds jumped out to an eight-run lead only to see it vanish in a 14-9 Toronto victory, the second-largest comeback win in franchise history.
In a contest that lasted exactly four hours, featured six home runs, 26 hits, 11 walks, 13 pitchers and 15 runs scored with two outs, to say this was an epic affair would be an understatement.
• The eight-run deficit was the largest Toronto has erased since completing its largest comeback in franchise history, overcoming a 10-0 deficit to beat the Red Sox, 13-11, in 12 innings at Fenway Park on June 4, 1989.
• The Reds sent 10 batters to the plate and scored eight runs in the second inning to take an 8-0 lead, the largest lead blown by Cincinnati since it relinquished a 10-1 advantage over the Giants on Aug. 25, 2010. The Reds eventually won that game, 12-11, in 12 innings at AT&T Park.
• The Reds had not blown a lead of eight runs or more in an eventual loss since May 20, 2010, when they blew an 8-0 lead and lost to the Braves, 10-9, in Atlanta.
• The eight runs that crossed the plate for Cincinnati in the second inning Friday were the most for the Reds since they scored eight in the seventh inning of a 10-6 home win over the Marlins on Apr. 21 of last season.
• The largest deficit overcome in baseball history is 12 runs, on three separate occasions: On June 8, 1911, the Tigers trailed the White Sox by 12 runs and came back to win; on June 15, 1925, the A's also overcame a dozen-run deficit to defeat the Indians; and most recently, on Aug. 5, 2001, the Indians beat the Mariners 15-14 in 11 innings after trailing 14-2 as late as the seventh.
• With the game tied at 9 entering the ninth, Cincinnati's flame-throwing closer, Aroldis Chapman entered the game and walked Colby Rasmus, who moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Munenori Kawasaki. Pinch-hitter Erik Kratz then broke the tie with an RBI double to score Rasmus.
"I was just looking for something out over the plate to hit," Kratz said. "I was able to lay off some of the balls that were down. He started off with a changeup, a couple of sliders. I chased probably ball four with the heater up and then I got the ball out over the plate, the slider that I ended up hitting."
It wasn't the first time Kratz has gotten to Chapman in the ninth inning of a game. On May 19, 2013, when Kratz was a member of the Phillies, he hit a game-tying homer off Chapman before the next batter, Freddy Galvis, hit a walk-off homer to beat the Reds, 3-2.
• Right-handed reliever Jumbo Diaz made his Major League debut for Cincinnati after 12 Minor League seasons. He allowed one home run in 33 1/3 innings for Triple-A Louisville this season, posting a 1.35 ERA in 30 appearances for the Bats. In one inning on Friday, he gave up two home runs (a solo shot by Brett Lawrie and a two-run homer by pinch-hitter Juan Francisco).
"What a ballgame. Those things are some kind of rare," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said after the game. "We're down 8-0, you're scrambling and basically all you're thinking is, "How are we going to get through this game with the pitching?' Then of course [Edwin Encarnacion] got us on the board, we had some other action, we kind of held them in check and then we just kind of exploded."
Encarnacion hit two home runs and set a career-high with six RBIs. He said after the game that he and his teammates knew an eight-run deficit wasn't insurmountable, especially after his three-run shot with two outs in the third.
"I think after I got that three-run homer, I think we got the emotion back, everybody in the dugout felt very happy," Encarnacion said. "We felt like we could come back after that."