CINCINNATI » Edwin Encarnacion started Toronto’s big comeback with a three-run homer. Many hours and momentum shifts later, he finished it with yet another.
With those two bookend swings, he played the role of comeback kid.
Encarnacion’s set of three-run homers helped the Blue Jays pull off the second-biggest comeback in their history Friday night, rallying from an early eight-run deficit to a 14-9 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
"That kind of thing happens," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "But I can’t remember one like this — not at this level."
Toronto hit four homers during its comeback. Encarnacion started it by connecting in the third inning off Mat Latos and finished it with his 23rd homer off Sam LeCure during a five-run ninth inning.
"After the (first) three-run homer, we got the emotion back," said Encarnacion, who set a career high with his six RBIs. "We were feeling like we could come back after that."
Brett Lawrie and Juan Francisco also homered for Toronto, which piled up 16 hits and nine walks.
Toronto overcame a 10-run deficit to beat Boston 13-11 in 12 innings in 1989.
With the score tied at 9, Aroldis Chapman (0-2) came on to pitch the ninth and walked leadoff hitter Colby Rasmus. Erik Kratz doubled off the wall in left to break the tie, and then came around on Melky Cabrera’s single.
Chapman was replaced after getting only two outs. Encarnacion completed the big comeback and his sixth multihomer game of the season.
"You may never see another one like that," Gibbons said.
Dustin McGowan (4-2) pitched a perfect eighth. Casey Janssen retired the three batters he faced in the ninth for his 13th save in 15 chances.
The comeback boosted the Blue Jays out of a recent funk. They were swept for the first time this season at Yankee Stadium and had dropped nine of their previous 12.
The Reds’ pitching meltdown wasted a chance to get back to .500 for the fourth time this season. Cincinnati has yet to have a winning record.
It was the first time the Reds blew an eight-run lead and lost since May 20, 2010, at Atlanta, a 10-9 defeat. The Reds gave up a season-high nine walks.
"I don’t know what it is," manager Bryan Price said. "Fortunately, it’s only one loss. It’s an ugly type of loss. It’s the type of loss that affects everybody."
Joe Kay, Associated Press