CINCINNATI (AP) — Two days before his 52nd birthday, Reds manager Bryan Price asked for two long outings from his starting pitchers to save an overworked bullpen.
Johnny Cueto delivered the latest present for Price, throwing eight effective innings as Cincinnati beat Toronto 4-3 Sunday.
The Reds surrendered an 8-0 lead on Friday night and spent its bullpen in the process. Behind Cueto, the Reds won after Blue Jays stars Brett Lawrie and Jose Bautista exited early because of injuries.
"Leaker (Mike Leake) and Johnny really picked up our bullpen," Price said.
Leake pitched eight innings in an 11-1 win on Saturday. The Reds have not lost any of their last five series and evened their record at 37-37. They have not been above .500 this season.
"I'm very proud of this team. They battled through a lot of adversity," said Price on his birthday. "Someone is taking care of me. Maybe it's my mom sending good vibes."
Todd Frazier broke a 2-all tie in the fifth with a two-run homer off R.A. Dickey (6-6).
Cueto led off the fifth with a bunt single. One out later, Frazier lined his team-leading 17th homer of the season.
Frazier went into the game tied with Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen and Baltimore's Adam Jones for the most home runs in the month of June. Each had seven.
Frazier hit his second home run off Dickey. He faced the knuckleball pitcher in 2012 as a member of the Mets.
"The knuckleball is pretty hard to hit," Frazier said. "It was crazy. It was a 2-0 count. I didn't think I hit it enough to go out. The last one I hit off him was off the boat."
The boat is a replica riverboat high above the batter's eye in straight away center field over 450 feet from home plate.
Cueto (7-5) gave up three runs — one earned — and leads the NL with a 1.86 ERA. He gave up seven hits and struck out eight while winning his third straight start.
Cueto limped around the bases on Frazier's home run with a cramp in his hamstring but was able to work through it for the last three frames.
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