The Toronto Blue Jays went limping home from their long, losing road trip.
The struggling AL East leaders lost infielder Brett Lawrie and right fielder Jose Bautista with injuries and fell to the Cincinnati Reds 4-3 Sunday.
— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) June 22, 2014
Appreciate support , will always continue to grind , will see you guys shortly #✌️Love
— Brett Lawrie (@blawrie13) June 22, 2014
Toronto was 3-7 on its visit to Baltimore, Yankee Stadium and Cincinnati.
Lawrie, twice hit in the left hand by pitches earlier in the week, sustained a broken right index finger when he was hit by a pitch from Johnny Cueto in the second inning. The team didn’t immediately announce how long he would be out.
“It’s definitely tough,” said Lawrie, who said he expects to be placed on the disabled list. “We’re big pieces of the puzzle, especially (Bautista). It’s tough on the team to not have all its bullets. We just have to keep on grinding.”
Bautista left because of tightness in his left hamstring, manager John Gibbon said. The All-Star outfielder had a single and a sacrifice bunt before leaving.
Cueto pitched eight effective innings and Todd Frazier broke a 2-all tie in the fifth with a two-run homer off R.A. Dickey (6-6).
Toronto has lost five of six, and has dropped five straight series.
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.
Gibbon became just the latest opposing manager to be dazzled by Cueto, though he also was impressed by his own starter, who got two extra days’ of rest after his last start because of a sore groin.
“”I thought (Dickey) was pretty good, except for the home-run ball,” Gibbon said. “That’s been his nemesis. It was a hot day, but he stayed out there. Cueto was just a little bit better. He’s good. He’s in a different class.”
Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the ninth for his 13th save.
Cueto led off the fifth with a bunt single. One out later, Frazier lined his team-leading 17th homer of the season, and the sixth allowed by Dickey in his last four starts.
“I felt good,” Dickey said. “I gave up nine hits, but I think only two or three of them could be described as hard-hit. I think all but one of my earned runs over my last four or five starts have come on home runs. That’s tough to overcome, especially against a guy like Cueto. I knew it was going to be a scrappy game from the beginning.”
The Reds had their own injury concerns. Second baseman Brandon Phillips left the game in the middle of the fifth with a bruised right heel, and Cueto had to shake off a hamstring cramp to stay in the game.
“When Frazier hit that ball, I went back to tag and I felt it,” Cueto said through a translator. “It was just a cramp.”
Frazier is tied with Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen and Baltimore’s Adam Jones for the most home runs in the month of June, each with seven.
Edwin Encarnacion led off the Toronto eighth with his 24th home run, connecting against his former team. He hit a pair of three-run shots Friday night while Toronto was coming back from an 8-0 deficit to grab a 14-9 win.
The Reds used Encarnacion’s error at first to take a 1-0 lead in the first. With Frazier on first and two outs, Phillips was safe when Encarnacion couldn’t handle third baseman Juan Francisco’s throw on a chopper. Jay Bruce converted the error with an RBI single.
The Blue Jays got help from two errors to take a 2-1 lead in the third. Munenori Kawasaki reached on first baseman Joey Votto’s throwing error, Melky Cabrera singled and Toronto loaded the bases on Cueto’s misplay of Jose Bautista’s bunt. One out later, Colby Rasmus lined a two-run single.
The Reds tied the game in the fourth on Bruce’s leadoff double, Ryan Ludwick’s single and Brayan Pena’s run-scoring double-play grounder.
Encarnacion homered off Cueto into the left-field seats.