MLB

Blue Jays continue road trip with series opener against Reds

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The Sports Network
6/20/2014 4:04:06 PM
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(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Blue Jays will look to snap a three-game skid Friday night when they continue their road trip in the opener of a three-game set against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.

Toronto has lost seven of its last nine and was just swept in three games by the New York Yankees. Thursday's 6-4 setback saw the Blue Jays get swept in a series of at least three games for the first time since Sept. 10-12.

The Jays lost Thursday's finale despite two-run homers by Melky Cabrera and Edwin Encarnacion as Drew Hutchison yielded four runs over 4 1/3 innings.

"We didn't play good baseball," Hutchison said. "That's what it is. It's over now. We just have to move on and continue forward."

The Blue Jays will shuffle their rotation, adding an extra arm in the form of right-hander Liam Hendriks.

Hendriks will make one start to give the rest of the rotation some extra time off, including R.A. Dickey. The knuckleballer will instead start on Sunday instead of tonight after exiting his last start early with a groin injury.

Hendriks made two starts earlier this season for Toronto, going 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA. He is 6-0 with a 1.92 ERA in 12 games (10 starts) at Triple-A Buffalo.

"We think it's important to protect that rotation a little bit," manager John Gibbons told Toronto's official website. "(Hendriks) will come along, he pitched well for us in a couple of outings earlier in the year. Hopefully, he gives us a boost too. He'll be here for one start and he'll go back (to Buffalo), and it will give those guys an extra breather."

The 25-year-old Hendriks has never before faced the Reds.

Toronto is 8-4 versus Cincinnati dating back to the 2003 campaign.

Mat Latos, meanwhile, aims to build off an excellent season debut on Friday evening as he gets the call for the Reds.

A 14-game winner in three of the last four seasons, Latos had a rough go of things to begin the year. He underwent knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus in the spring, then had his return delayed due to an elbow strain while rehabbing.

Latos finally took the mound on Saturday versus Milwaukee and got a no- decision despite hurling six scoreless innings. He scattered two hits and fanned four without a walk, exiting after 87 pitches in a game the Reds eventually lost.

"(It) was emotional for sure," said Latos. "First time back in a while. I felt good. The outcome kind of sucks but that's baseball. We'll come back strong tomorrow."

Latos will face the Blue Jays for the second time in his career looking to get the Reds back into the win column after they lost a 4-3 decision to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday. They had won three in a row and six of their last seven.

Devin Mesoraco tied the game for Cincinnati with a solo homer in the top of the ninth, but Pittsburgh scored the winning run in the 12th frame on a two- out, bases-loaded walk.

Cincinnati righty Homer Bailey went 5 2/3 innings, giving up nine hits and three runs while striking out five.

"I feel like throughout the whole game, they had maybe one or two balls that were hit real solid," said Bailey.




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