Molina HRs, Blue Jays beat Reds 4-0
CINCINNATI – Even in their home ballpark, the Reds can't do anything against the American League.
Brandon Morrow bounced back from one of his worst starts on Saturday night, and Jose Molina doubled and homered, leading the Toronto Blue Jays to a 4-0 victory that kept Cincinnati winless in interleague play.
Cincinnati fell to 0-5 against the AL this season. The Reds were swept in Cleveland last month.
"It's like we take two steps forward and one back," manager Dusty Baker said. "Now we've got to start moving forward tomorrow. The thing is, we've got to figure out these American League teams."
Morrow (3-4) gave up five hits in 6 2-3 innings, two of them by Jay Bruce. He threw first-pitch strikes to 22 of the 26 batters he faced, using his slower curve and changeup to complement the hard fastball and slider that are usually his best pitches.
"He had good stuff," Bruce said. "He has four pitches. He could be cruising at 91-92 and then get it up to 96 when he needed to. He pitched well."
Jose Bautista also had a pair of hits, including an RBI single off Edinson Volquez (5-7), who lost for the first time in three starts since he returned from a fine-tuning stint in the minors.
"Actually, tonight was the best I've felt," said Volquez, who gave up seven hits and four runs in five innings while striking out eight. "I really felt good. I just made some mistakes. A few pitches got away from me."
The Blue Jays got their second combined shutout of the season — they also blanked Minnesota 2-0 on May 13. The Reds were shut out for the third time.
Reds first baseman Joey Votto — a Toronto native — received the Lou Marsh Trophy on the field before the game, honoring him as Canada's top athlete in 2010.
Votto won the National League's MVP last season and led the Reds to their first division title and playoff appearance in 15 years. He grew up a fan of the Blue Jays, but is having a tough time against them, going 0 for 8 while getting the ball out of the infield only once.
It's the first time Votto has failed to reach base in back-to-back games since August 2009.
He's not the only part of the NL's most prolific offense struggling against Blue Jays pitchers. Cincinnati has scored two runs in the series, both on homers.
Morrow wanted to rebound from his dreadful start a week earlier, when he allowed a career-high nine runs in only 4 1-3 innings of a 16-4 loss to Boston. Morrow left with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh. Jason Frasor got pinch-hitter Edgar Renteria to fly out.
The Blue Jays got a run in the third, but could have had more.
Yunel Escobar doubled to start the third. Corey Patterson pulled a drag bunt toward first, and Volquez fielded and threw wildly to first for an error that let Escobar round the bases. The ball bounced over the rolled-up tarp down the line, briefly disappeared behind it, then rolled out the far end.
Patterson thought the ball was dead, slowed on his way to third base and was tagged out. Manager John Farrell came onto the field to question the decision, which was upheld after a brief conference by the umpires.
Molina homered off the facing of the upper deck in left field to open the fourth. Rajai Davis then tripled and scored on Jayson Nix's sacrifice fly. Bautista singled home a run in the fifth that made it 4-0, getting a ground ball through Cincinnati's pronounced infield shift — three fielders between second and third.
Notes: Country music singer Marlee Scott, a native of Alberta, Canada, sang both national anthems. ... The three pigeons that spent most of Friday night's game walking around the infield didn't return for the second game of the series ... Toronto is 3-2 in interleague play. ... Molina is 3 for 6 career off Volquez with a pair of homers. ... Bruce snapped an 0-for-17 slump that matched the longest of his career. ... Baker said RHP Homer Bailey, on the DL with a strained pitching shoulder, is expected to make at least one more rehab start. He's 0-1 with a 7.36 ERA in two starts.