For the second straight game the Reds jumped on a Toronto Blue Jay's starter for eight runs. They improved to 1-1 when leading by eight runs with an 11-1 victory over Toronto.
This time it was J.A Happ who was the hapless starter.
The Reds took advantage of Happ's inability to throw strikes in the first inning. After Happ retired the first two Reds in the inning, he walked, Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce. Ryan Ludwick had the game's first hit, a single that drove in two runners. A passed ball charged to Erik Kratz allowed Bruce to score the third run.
The offense rested in the third.
The Reds continued in the fourth. With one out Ramon Santiago singled. Reds' starting pitcher, Mike Leake, attempted one bunt then drilled a single to right, sending Santiago to third. Billy Hamilton singled to send Santiago to the plate with the Reds' fifth run. Hamilton stole second, his 31st theft of the season. Todd Frazier backed Toronto centerfielder, Colby Rasmus, to the fence in deep center. Leake trotted home and Hamilton rounded third and had an idea about scoring himself but he held. He didn't wait long, Joey Votto doubled Hamilton home. Phillips doubled to give the Reds' an 8-0 lead for the second game in a row.
This time the Reds were determined to hold the lead.
"It was a character game for us," Bryan Price said. "It was one that we needed to get the bad taste out of our mouths from last night."
Leake, who pitched very well the first nine games of the season with little to show for it in the won/loss record. He pitched into the seventh in all nine games but had a 2-3 record in spite of a paltry 2.77 ERA. The last three starts, however, Leake's longest outing was 5 1/3 innings. He allowed 14 runs in 15 1/3 innings.
"Jeff Pico and I talked at length about needing a good long start from Leake," Price said. "Pico talked to him but he knew. We all knew."
This time pitching with a lead. This time with the Reds adding runs on a three-run home rum by Devin Mesoraco, his 12th and his second of the series, the Reds changed the results. Mesoraco has hit home runs in three straight games for the first time in his career.and 12 home runs is a new career-high for a season.
"Dusty (Baker) used to say that hitting is all momentum," Mesoraco said. "We have a lot of capable hitters. This is what we expected to do."
"Collectively, we're taking better at bat," Price said. "Not only are we starting to score runs like we expected to, we're running the opposing pitchers pitch counts up. When they go into the fourth inning with 70 pitches and haven't given up any runs, they're about to."
Leake pitched eight innings to improve his record to 5-6. He allowed one run, a home run to Colby Rasmus. Leake threw 113 pitches and allowed four hits and two walks. He struck out six.
"That is my job every time," Leake said. "We needed a somewhat quick game. It's not something you can do on command. The best I could do was to try to get quick strikes and stay aggressive and try to put the batter away. There were a couple innings where I threw too many pitches but I had better command this time."
For the second day in a row a Reds' pitcher made his Major League debut. Carlos Contreras, 23, pitched the ninth inning. Contreras threw a perfect inning, striking out Rasmus to end it.