TORONTO (AP) — The Toronto Blue Jays welcomed back another injured player, swatted four more home runs, and picked up another win.
Kendrys Morales hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning, Josh Donaldson added an upper deck drive and the Blue Jays beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-4 on Tuesday night, their seventh win in eight games.
Left-hander J.A. Happ returned from an elbow injury to pitch four innings for the Blue Jays, who welcomed All-Stars Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki back from the disabled list last week. Left-hander Francisco Liriano is expected to return Friday from a sore shoulder.
“Finally we have the whole team active, the whole roster set,” Morales said through a translator. “I really think we have a great team here and I think good things are going to happen for us.”
Happ allowed two runs in four innings, throwing 81 pitches.
“It was a battle and I expected that,” said Happ, who last pitched April 16.
Happ said it felt good to rejoin a red-hot Blue Jays team that’s gone 17-10 in May.
“We have some good energy right now,” Happ said. “They’ve been playing good while we were all out.”
All six Toronto runs came on homers. Jose Bautista and Russell Martin also connected for the Blue Jays, who have hit 47 homers in May, the second-most in baseball.
Cincinnati’s Zack Cozart hit two solo home runs and Joey Votto had a third.
Morales broke a 4-all tie with a two-run blast off Blake Wood (0-3), his 10th.
“I was looking for a big swing,” Morales said. “I got a good pitch to swing at, so I got it all.”
Joe Smith (1-0) worked one inning for the win and Roberto Osuna finished for his 10th save.
Donaldson, Bautista and Martin all connected off right-hander Asher Wojciechowski in the fourth. It was Toronto’s first three-homer inning since July 29, 2016, against Baltimore.
Two of the three hits off Happ were homers on consecutive pitches by Cozart and Votto in the first. It was the first time this season Cincinnati had gone back-to-back.
Happ allowed back-to-back homers in the first inning for the second time in his career. He’s given up two homers in the first inning five times.
Happ escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fourth when Tulowitzki snared Scott Schebler’s hard shot.
“We had Happ in some tough spots and he was able to kind of manage his way out of it without giving up the big blow,” Reds manager Bryan Price said.
Donaldson and Bautista went back-to-back in the fourth and Martin added a two-out drive.
Cozart cut it to 4-3 with his second of the night off Danny Barnes in the fifth. It was Cozart’s first multihomer game of the season and the third of his career.
Billy Hamilton tied it with an RBI single off Ryan Tepera in the seventh but was thrown out trying to steal third base for the first out of the inning. Ezequiel Carrera made a diving catch on Adam Duvall’s liner, and Tepera fanned Eugenio Suarez to strand runners at first and second.
“It sure is a different ballgame if we actually get the lead in that situation,” Price said.
Wojciechowski, Cincinnati’s fifth rookie starting pitcher of the season, allowed four runs and four hits in four innings. It was the first start of the season for Wojciechowski, who was drafted by Toronto in 2010.
GUILTY PLEA FOR BEER CAN THROWER
The fan who threw a can of beer at Baltimore OF Hyun Soo Kim in last year’s AL wild card game appeared in a Toronto court Tuesday. Ken Pagan pleaded guilty to mischief and will be sentenced on June 28.
END OF THE LINE
Tepera saw his scoreless streak ended at 19 innings, the longest by a Blue Jays pitcher this season, and the sixth-longest in the majors.
Reds: Cincinnati optioned RHP Robert Stephenson to Triple-A Louisville and recalled RHP Jackson Stephens from Triple-A. Stephenson is expected to start at Louisville.
Blue Jays: Liriano will come off the DL to start Friday against the Yankees, manager John Gibbons said, giving RHP Joe Biagni (Saturday) and RHP Marcus Stroman (Sunday) an extra day of rest. … OF Dalton Pompey (concussion) made his first rehab start at Class-A Dunedin. He went 3 for 4 with a walk and three RBIs. … RHP Dominic Leone was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo to make room for Happ. … RHP Mat Latos was released from Triple-A.
Reds: RHP Tim Adelman (3-2, 4.95) pitched eight shutout innings against Philadelphia in his previous start, giving up his only hit in the first and retiring 21 of the final 23 batters he faced.
Blue Jays: RHP Mike Bolsinger (0-2, 5.75) has walked four or more batters in three of his four starts, and has yet to complete six innings.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball