TORONTO (AP)—Jay Bruce figured bunting for a base hit might shake him out of a slump. Six innings later, a fly ball worked much better.
The victory helped the Reds forget about a 14-1 defeat Tuesday.
“We were able to get the run when we needed it,” Griffey said. “That’s important.”
Reds manager Dusty Baker chided Bruce for trying to bunt with one on and one out in the fourth. Bruce grounded into a fielder’s choice on the play.
“I shouldn’t have been bunting in that situation,” Bruce said. “I understand that.”
There was no need for the rookie to bunt in the 10th. Toronto reliever Brian Wolfe (0-2) began the inning by walking Norris Hopper and Paul Janish, and both runners advanced when David Ross sacrificed.
Left-hander Jesse Carlson came on to face the left-handed hitting Bruce, who hung in against the tough southpaw to loft a fly ball to left that easily produced a run.
“He came back and won the game for us,” Baker said. “That was big.”
Bruce is 4-for-20 in his past five games and the RBI was just his second during that span.
“If they have me bunt and it’s the best way to help the team, then I’m fine with that, or it’s a fly ball or anything,” Bruce said. “It doesn’t matter. Just win, that’s the main thing.”
Toronto dropped to 2-3 under new manager Cito Gaston. The Blue Jays are 6-15 in June and 3-7 in extra-inning games.
“We had a lot of opportunities to win that game,” Gaston said. “You don’t like to lose ballgames like that. That’s a tough loss for us.”
Griffey opened the scoring with a two-run homer in the first, his ninth of the season.
The Reds added three more in the third against Toronto right-hander Roy Halladay. Adam Dunn and Brandon Phillips each had RBI singles and Joey Votto drove in a run with a fielder’s choice, making it 5-0.
Reds starter Aaron Harang allowed a pair of two-run homers in the bottom of the inning, allowing Toronto to cut the gap to one. Adam Lind followed Gregg Zaun’s single with a drive to left, and Joe Inglett drove in Marco Scutaro with a shot to right.
Toronto chased Harang and tied it 5-all in the sixth. The right-hander left one out after walking Lyle Overbay, and reliever Bill Bray was yanked after he walked Lind. David Weathers came on to face Scutaro, who singled to left. Dunn made a strong throw to the plate, but the ball skipped over Ross’ mitt as Overbay slid in safely.
Harang, who came in having won just one of his previous eight starts, allowed five runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings.
“It was a battle all night,” Harang said. “They were fouling off pitches that were pretty good. They made me work.”
Halladay struck out the first two batters in the seventh, but left after loading the bases by walking Griffey, giving up a double to Votto, and walking Jeff Keppinger. Scott Downs came on and ended the threat by fanning Hopper, who pinch hit for Corey Patterson.
Halladay allowed five runs and nine hits. He walked four and struck out seven.
Downs worked 1 1-3 innings, extending his career-high scoreless innings streak to 24.
Alex Rios, Vernon Wells and Matt Stairs singled on three consecutive pitches from Weathers to load the bases in the seventh, but the Reds escaped just as quickly. Scott Rolen popped out on the first pitch and Overbay took just one pitch before swinging at a changeup and grounding into a 1-2-3 double play.
“Not the easiest one to get out of,” Weathers said. “The changeup has been a big pitch for me all year.”
Cincinnati 3B Edwin Encarnacion (back spasms) missed his second straight game and will need “a couple more days” to recover, Baker said. … INF Jerry Hairston (left thumb) could be activated Thursday. Hairston broke his thumb June 9 and the Reds have lost nine of 14 since. “Things haven’t been the same since he went down,” Baker said. … Toronto Raptors forward Chris Bosh attended the game.