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Jays whip Indians to give Reyes first victory since 2008

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The Canadian Press
5/30/2011 11:13:37 PM
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TORONTO -- Blue Jays starter Jo-Jo Reyes has been through his share of valleys since his last victory almost three years ago.

He has toiled in the minor leagues, battled injuries and come oh-so-close on several occasions to finally getting that elusive win. He finally got the result he was looking for Monday night as he threw his first career complete game in Toronto's 11-1 rout of the Cleveland Indians.

Reyes (1-4), who had tied a major league record by going 28 starts without a win, allowed eight hits and struck out four. He was steady throughout the game and seemed to get more comfortable as the Blue Jays (28-26) padded their lead.

The Rogers Centre crowd of 12,902 was chanting his name in the ninth inning and Reyes was swarmed by his teammates on the mound after capping the victory with a strikeout.

"He was kind of serious when I first went out there," said Jays ace Ricky Romero. "I was like, 'Hey man, you can smile now. It's over.'

"I gave him a big hug. We're all happy for him."

Jayson Nix homered and Rajai Davis had three hits and scored three runs as Toronto extended its winning streak to four games. The Blue Jays never looked back after breaking the game open with a seven-run fourth inning.

"This night belongs to Jo-Jo," said Jays manager John Farrell. "Just an outstanding game on his part."

Reyes entered play tied with Matt Keough (Oakland, 1978-'79) and Cliff Curtis (Boston, 1910-'11) for the longest winless stretch by a starting pitcher. He last recorded a win on June 13, 2008, when his Atlanta Braves beat the Los Angeles Angels.

"I think it was just an awesome game," a beaming Reyes said. "I guess this was the way to do it if I had to choose."

Nix put the Blue Jays on the board in the third inning when he sent a 2-2 pitch from Fausto Carmona (3-6) into the second deck in left field. That was enough offence for Reyes, who threw 121 pitches, 75 for strikes.

"He had been in a position to end this a while ago," Farrell said. "Whether it's baseball fate, whatever you want to call it to put an end to it, he finished what he started."

The American League-leading Indians fell to 31-20 with their fifth loss in six games.

"We were up there battling," said Cleveland first baseman Matt LaPorta. "You can't look at records and stats, those things are out of his hands. He was throwing a fastball, cutter, slider and his change-up. He was coming inside and going away. He did a good job tonight."

Reyes has pitched well enough to win on a few occasions this season. He's tied for the American League lead with six no-decisions and Toronto is now 4-7 when he starts.

"I think we've all wanted this for him," Romero said. "We've seen the way he's handled it away from the crowd and away from everyone. He's been a total professional about it.

"Not once did you ever hear him complain about anything. He's busted his tail and hopefully this is the first of many wins for him."

The tall left-hander put runners on in each of the first three innings but managed to work his way out of trouble each time.

Michael Brantley led off the game with a single, but the Jays turned a nice 5-4-3 double play to snuff out the threat. The Indians opened the second with back-to-back singles before Reyes got two flyouts and a strikeout. In the third, Brantley reached on a walk before Reyes snagged a comebacker to start another double play.

Cleanup hitter Shelley Duncan hit a moon shot just inside the left-field foul pole in the fourth inning for the Indians' lone run. It was the 15th time in stadium history that a home run had reached the fifth deck. Washington Nationals slugger Jayson Werth -- then with the Philadelphia Phillies -- was the last to do it on June 27, 2009.

In the bottom half of the fourth, Toronto loaded the bases with nobody out. Davis hit a two-run double down the left-field line to make it 4-1, sending Eric Thames to third base. Yunel Escobar drew a one-out walk to load the bases again and Corey Patterson followed with a grounder that handcuffed second baseman Orlando Cabrera.

The veteran infielder bobbled the ball as he turned to throw to second and then paused in frustration. That was enough to allow the speedy Davis to break for home, and he followed Thames across the plate. Jose Bautista padded the lead with a two-run double and later came across when J.P. Arencibia lashed a double to left field.

Toronto greeted reliever Chad Durbin by touching him up for two insurance runs in the fifth inning. Durbin lasted two innings before he was replaced by left-hander Rafael Perez.

Toronto outhit Cleveland 13-8. The game took two hours 21 minutes to play.

Notes: Blue Jays first baseman Juan Rivera was held without a hit in five at-bats. That ended his hitting streak at 11 games. Escobar had two hits to extend his streak to 11 games. ... Toronto is two games over the .500 mark for the first time since April 9. ... Bautista has reached base safely in 43 of 46 games this season. ... Jays manager John Farrell said first baseman Adam Lind is making progress at extended spring training as he recovers from a back injury. Farrell is cautiously optimistic that Lind could be ready to return during this weekend's series at Baltimore. ... Brandon Morrow (2-2) is scheduled to start for the Blue Jays on Tuesday night. The Indians will counter with fellow right-hander Mitch Talbot (1-1).

Jo-Jo Reyes Gatorade Splash (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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