TORONTO (AP) — Hyun Jin Ryu pitched six shutout innings to earn his first victory of the season, and the Blue Jays held Reds star Joey Votto in check in his return from COVID-19 as Toronto beat Cincinnati 2-1 Friday night.
Toronto improved to 11-6 in one-run games, the most one-run wins in baseball. The Blue Jays are 21-18 overall.
Making his fourth start of the season and his second after being activated off the injured list because of a sore forearm, Ryu (1-0) allowed six hits, including five doubles, walked none and struck out three. The left-hander lowered his ERA from 9.00 to 6.00.
“Same guy I remember with the Dodgers,” Votto said of Ryu. “Tough, elusive. If you miss the one opportunity, that’s it, that’s the end of it.”
Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said Ryu is “back to himself” after a rough start to 2022.
“He commanded his pitches, he’s throwing his breaking pitches for a strike," Montoyo said. "When you see that, that’s when he pitches good. And that’s what he’s done his last two starts.”
Ryan Borucki got one out in the seventh and Adam Cimber got the other two. Yimi Garcia struck out two in the eighth and Jordan Romano finished for his Al-leading 13th save in 15 chances.
Playing a series in his Canadian hometown for the fourth time, and the first since 2017, Votto went 1 for 4 with a double, his second extra-base hit of the season. He got a warm ovation from the crowd of 29,300 before leading off the second inning.
“It was great, it meant a lot,” Votto said. “Thank you to them.”
Votto was activated off the COVID-19 injured list before the game. He last played in the majors on May 1.
“It’s great to have him back in the lineup,” Reds manager David Bell said. “He looks good, he looks healthy.”
Luis Castillo (0-2) made his third start of the season and lost his second straight outing, allowing two runs and seven hits in six innings.
“Good changeup, good slider, good fastball,” Bell said. “Had it all working against a really good lineup.”
The right-hander walked none and struck out five.
“It’s a treat to come back and play behind a major league pitcher,” Votto said of Castillo. “I wish we had gotten the win for him today.”
The Blue Jays broke a scoreless tie in the fifth when George Springer hit an RBI single and scored on Bo Bichette’s double down the third base line.
Cincinnati cut the deficit in half in the seventh. Borucki hit Mike Moustakas with a pitch to begin the inning, then gave up a single to Taylor Motter.
Tyler Naquin grounded out and Cimber came on and struck out pinch hitter Colin Moran, but Matt Reynolds followed with an RBI single just beyond the reach of second baseman Santiago Espinal. Cimber struck out Tyler Stephenson to end the threat.
Reynolds had three of the Reds’ eight hits.
FOUR FOR JOEY
Toronto used a four-man outfield defensive alignment against Votto in the eighth, when the Reds first baseman flied out to left field against Garcia.
The Reds are 2-8 all-time in Toronto, losing their past four north of the border.
Cincinnati is 6-18 away from home, the most road losses in the major leagues.
ONE AND DONE
The Reds are 1-6 in one-run games, the fewest one-run wins in baseball.
The Reds put LHP Ross Detwiler on the bereavement list and placed INF Brandon Drury, OF Albert Almora, RHP Joel Kuhnel and RHP Tyler Mahle on the restricted list. Cincinnati selected OF Aristides Aquino, INF Motter and RHP Graham Ashcraft as substitute players. All three were previously with Triple-A Louisville. Unvaccinated players go on the restricted list because they are not paid and do not accrue major league service time, according to a March agreement between Major League Baseball and the players’ association.
Reds: SS José Barrero (left hand surgery) went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts in his first rehab game at Triple-A Friday.
Blue Jays: OF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was held out of the starting lineup. Gurriel left Wednesday’s game against Seattle because of a sore left hamstring. … LHP Tim Mayza (forearm) could begin a throwing program next week after his MRI results showed no structural damage to his elbow. Mayza missed all of 2020 after he was injured during a September 2019 appearance against the Yankees.
RHP Hunter Greene (1-6, 6.21) faces RHP Alek Manoah (4-1, 1.71) in a matchup of hard throwers Saturday. Greene pitched 7 1-3 no-hit innings against Pittsburgh last Sunday, a game the Reds lost 1-0. Manoah is winless in three starts.
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