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Votto homers, has four hits as Reds beat Blue Jays

TORONTO (AP) – Joey Votto hit a tiebreaking home run among his four hits and the Cincinnati Reds avoided a sweep, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 7-5 on Thursday night.

Born in suburban Toronto, Votto came in 2 for 18 in five career games in his home city but turned that around by doubling home a run in the first, hitting an RBI single in the second, reaching on a leadoff single in the fourth and homering to begin the sixth.

Batting cleanup for the first time this season, Votto’s homer was his first since May 26, against Houston. He returned to the lineup Tuesday after missing 21 games because of stress and anxiety issues related to his father’s death last August.

Right-hander Johnny Cueto (7-4) allowed five runs and five hits in six innings for the win as the Reds snapped a four-game losing streak.

Nick Masset and David Weathers each pitched one inning of relief and Francisco Cordero finished it in the ninth for his 18th save in 19 chances.

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The loss went to Toronto righty Shawn Camp (0-3), who had pitched three scoreless innings before giving up Votto’s homer.

Cincinnati jumped in front with a four-run first against Blue Jays rookie left-hander Brett Cecil, doing all its damage with two outs. Votto and Jonny Gomes had RBI doubles and Jay Bruce capped it with a two-run double off the wall in left.

Aaron Hill got one back for Toronto with a solo homer in the bottom half that bounced off the top of the wall and went out. It was Hill’s 17th homer of the season, matching his career high.

Votto hit an RBI single in the second to make it 5-1 but Toronto tied it with a four-run fifth.

After Cueto loaded the bases with two walks and a single, Vernon Wells hit a two-run double to left and Scott Rolen followed with a two-run single up the middle. The single extended his hitting streak to 14 games, matching a career high.

Leading again thanks to Votto’s ninth homer, the Reds added an insurance run in the eighth off Brandon League, when Paul Janish doubled and later scored on Willy Taveras’ squeeze bunt.

Taveras came in batting .104 (11 for 106) in his previous 26 games but went 3 for 5 with a double and two singles.

Rolen had the defensive play of the night, making a diving stop on Jerry Hairston’s grounder and throwing to first from his knees. On Wednesday, Rolen made a leaping catch on Hairston’s eighth inning liner with runners at first and second.


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