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Toronto Blue Jays keep hitting and hitting and hitting in 17-2 victory

By Larry Millson, The Sports Xchange
Toronto Blue Jays keep hitting and hitting and hitting in 17-2 victory
The Blue Jays had 23 hits and scored 17 runs in a rout of the Cincinnati Reds. Seven players had multiple hits. Nine had at least one hit and nine scored at least one run. Photo courtesy Toronto Blue Jays/Twitter

TORONTO -- So often in their early season struggles, the Toronto Blue Jays had trouble producing runs.

Things have turned around in May, but their game Monday night against the Cincinnati Reds was extreme to say the least.

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Led by a grand slam from Troy Tulowitzki and a three-run homer from Justin Smoak, the Blue Jays defeated the Reds 17-2 in the opener of a three-game interleague series.

The 17 runs and 23 hits were both season highs.

"I don't know if we were due, we were waiting on one of those," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.

It is the first time the Reds have allowed 23 hits in a game since giving up 25 on May 1, 1985, against the Atlanta Braves at Riverfront Stadium.

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"It could have been worse," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "Their third base coach (Luis Rivera) was compassionate enough to not keep wheeling guys in to score."

Russell Martin added a two-run homer and an RBI double in his three-hit game, and Devon Travis had four hits and two RBI to extend his hitting streak to 13 games for the Blue Jays (24-27).

Ezequiel Carrera added four singles, Smoak had three hits and four RBI, and Kendrys Morales amassed three hits and four runs in the opener of a three-game interleague series.

"We had a huge night. So many guys had big, big nights and (Marcus Stroman) was very good again," Gibbons said. "Those games are very rare at the big-league level. It's enjoyable when you get them, but it definitely helped out no doubt. It was one of those nights where everybody did something good."

Adam Duvall homered for the Reds (24-26) in the sixth inning and has five homers in his past five games and 14 for the season. He also had an RBI single in the first inning.

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The previous high in runs for the Blue Jays this season was nine on May 16 when Stroman also was pitching.

Stroman (6-2) allowed five hits and two runs in six innings. The right-hander hit one batter and struck out five in winning his fifth straight decision in his past eight starts. He has not lost since April 18.

"Not surprised by any means, I know what this team is capable of," Stroman said. "It's amazing. It shows you how capable we are of doing that on an every-night basis. Guys have started out a little slow, but we're starting to show how talented and how capable we are. I'm excited about the next stretch."

Reds starter Lisalverto Bonilla (0-3) allowed six runs, three hits and five walks in 2 1/3 innings.

"It was obvious that Bo didn't have his really good stuff or command," Price said. "He was behind a lot. He just didn't have a feel."

Reds reliever Robert Stephenson gave up 10 hits, one walk and seven runs (six earned) in two innings.

"I just didn't feel really sharp," Stephenson said. "I felt they hit everything. There were even pitches I went back and watched and I threw it right to Meso's (catcher Devin Mesoraco) glove and they hit them too. It just kind of felt like that's how it went."

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The Blue Jays led 2-1 in the second after the fourth homer of the season by Martin, a drive just over the wall in the right-field corner that followed a single by Smoak.

The Blue Jays loaded the bases with no outs in the third on an infield single by Josh Donaldson and walks to Jose Bautista and Morales. Smoak's groundout scored Donaldson to make it 3-1 and Martin walked to load the bases again.

Bonilla was replaced by Stephenson, who allowed the fourth career grand slam and the second home run of the season by Tulowitzki on an 0-1 pitch.

"Trying to get a good pitch, trying to put a good swing on it, try to keep it as simple as I possibly can," Tulowitzki said. "On the grand slam, I got a good pitch to hit and has a good swing and broke the game open."

Smoak hit his 12th homer of the season, a three-run shot, in the fourth inning to increase the lead to 10-1.

Travis led off the fifth with a double, took third on Carrera's single and scored on a balk. Carrera reached third on an obstruction call on a grounder to short by Kevin Pillar, who reached second.

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Donaldson's groundout to shortstop scored Carrera. An infield hit by Bautista was followed by an RBI single by Morales that made it 13-1.

"It's nice," Tulowitzki said. "Hopefully, we can catch some momentum offensively and take it over into tomorrow and keep it going."

NOTES: Toronto LHP J.A. Happ (0-3, 4.50 ERA) is scheduled to return from the disabled list Tuesday to start against Reds RHP Asher Wojciechowski (1-0, 2.25 ERA), a former Blue Jays minor-leaguer. Happ went on the disabled list April 17 with elbow inflammation. ... Reds 1B Joey Votto, a Toronto native, received the Tip O'Neill Award from the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame before the game, the sixth time he has won the award that is presented annually for individual and team accomplishments. ... Toronto OF/INF Chris Coghlan (lower back spasms) was a late scratch and was replaced in left field by OF Ezequiel Carrera.

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