Edwin Encarnacion started Toronto’s big comeback with a three-run homer. Many hours and momentum shifts later, he finished it with yet another.
With those two bookend swings, he played the role of comeback kid.
Encarnacion’s set of three-run homers helped the Blue Jays pull off the second-biggest comeback in their history Friday night, rallying from an early eight-run deficit to a 14-9 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
“That kind of thing happens,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “But I can’t remember one like this — not at this level.”
Toronto hit four homers during its comeback. Encarnacion started it by connecting in the third inning off Mat Latos and finished it with his 23rd homer off Sam LeCure during a 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, which piled up 16 hits and nine walks.
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.
“You may never see another one like that,” Gibbons said.
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 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.”
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.
Hendriks was in the dugout watching one of the major leagues’ most powerful offences pull off one of its biggest comebacks.
“It was incredible,” Hendriks said. “This offence is fantastic. This ballpark plays up to our strengths.”
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 homer during 5 2-3 innings.
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.
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