TORONTO — Scott Rolen hit a two-run homer off Edinson Volquez, Jesse Litsch pitched eight sharp innings and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-1 on Thursday night.
Volquez (10-3) entered with a major league-best 1.71 ERA but was tagged for a season-high seven runs, five earned, and six hits in 41⁄3 innings, his shortest start of the season. Volquez's ERA rose to 2.08.
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Volquez allowed three runs or less in each of his previous 16 appearances this season.
Rolen connected in the second inning for his sixth homer of the season and third in four games. His RBI double in the fifth made it 7-1.
”I threw too many strikes in the bullpen,“ Volquez said. ”I don't like that. When I was in the minor leagues, every time I threw too many strikes in the bullpen, in the game it didn't work.“
Litsch (8-4) allowed one run and three hits to win for the first time since beating Oakland on May 29, a span of five starts.
Sloppy fielding helped the Blue Jays add to their lead in the third. With runners at first and second, Alex Rios grounded back to the mound but Volquez threw high to shortstop Jerry Hairston, whose relay was too late to catch Rios.
Vernon Wells drove in a run with a fielder's choice and Lyle Overbay tacked on a two-run single to give the Blue Jays a 5-0 lead.
Hairston batted leadoff and went 1-for-4 in his first start after missing 14 games with a broken left thumb. Infielder Paul Janish was optioned to Triple-A Louisville to make room on the roster.