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Jays' bats explode against Reds

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TORONTO—Credit Cincinnati Reds' manager Bryan Price for having a sense of humour after his team was on the receiving end of a 17-2 pasting from the Toronto Blue Jays.

“It could have been worse,” Price said.

“Their third-base coach was compassionate enough to not keep wheeling guys in to score.”

Toronto scored early and often in the opener of the three-game interleague series last night at Rogers Centre.

Russell Martin hit a two-run homer in the second inning off starter Lasalverto Bonilla, Troy Tulowitzki belted a grand slam in the third, and Justin Smoak tacked on a three-run shot in the fourth.

When it was all over, the Jays (24-27) nearly doubled their season high for runs scored and finished with 23 hits—good for the third-most in franchise history.

Devon Travis and Ezequiel Carrera had four hits apiece while Kendrys Morales scored four runs as Toronto won for the sixth time in seven games.

“Those games are very rare at the big-league level,” noted Jays' manager John Gibbons.

“So enjoy it when you get them.”

The Reds opened the scoring with a run in the first inning and Adam Duvall hit a solo shot in the sixth off Jays' starter Marcus Stroman, who picked up his team-leading sixth win of the season.

But this game essentially was over by the midway point.

Tulowitzki's second homer of the season—and fourth grand slam of his career—put a charge in the Rogers Centre crowd of 29,844.

Smoak turned it into a laugher with his 12th homer of the campaign.

“I got a good pitch to hit, put a good swing [on it], and kind of broke the game open,” Tulowitzki noted.

The final scoreline could have been even more inflated as the Jays left 13 men on base.

Toronto improved to 3-1 on its 10-game homestand.

“I'm not surprised by any means," Stroman said. ”I know what this team is capable of.

"We've had the same mentality from the very beginning.

“There's been a lot of external opinions but they never affect our internal mentality,” he noted.

“So we've been good from the beginning. We're just getting hot now.”

As powerful as the Jays' offence was, Cincinnati (24-26) didn't do itself any favours in the field.

Reds' reliever Robert Stephenson was called for a balk, third baseman Eugenio Suarez was called for obstruction, and shortstop Jose Peraza couldn't get the ball out of his glove on a routine grounder.

Centre-fielder Arismendy Alcantara blew an attempted catch on the warning track.

At least the Reds can look forward to a clean slate for tonight's rematch.

Stroman (6-2) allowed five hits and two earned runs while striking out five.

Bonilla (0-3) issued five walks while allowing three hits and six earned runs over 2 1/3 innings.

Elsewhere in interleague play, Seattle topped Colorado 6-5 and Atlanta doubled the L.A. Angels 6-3.

In AL action, Houston doubled Minnesota 16-8, Baltimore nipped New York 3-2, Chicago edged Boston 5-4, Cleveland beat Oakland 5-3, Detroit upended Kansas City 10-7, and Tampa Bay topped Texas 10-8.

Over in the NL, Washington blanked San Francisco 3-0, L.A. beat St. Louis 5-1, Pittsburgh shaded Arizona 4-3, New York doubled Milwaukee 4-2, San Diego downed Chicago Cubs 5-2, and Miami upended Philadelphia 4-1.

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