Bruce gives Reds win in extras vs. Jays

Bruce gives Reds win in extras vs. Jays

TORONTO -- Step right up, folks. This was a tightrope act you won't see every day at the ballpark.

In the top of the seventh inning of a tied game, Reds reliever David Weathers pitched himself into and out of a bases-loaded, nobody-out jam against the Blue Jays and used only six pitches. It was a crucial moment in Cincinnati's 6-5, 10-inning win over Toronto on Wednesday night.

To begin the seventh, Alex Rios singled to center field, Vernon Wells pulled a single to left field and Matt Stairs singled up the middle --- all on the first pitch they saw from Weathers.

Trouble, big trouble.

"One of two things is going to happen," Weathers said. "We're either going to get out of this and get a shot at it or I'm about to give up the farm. Pretty simple."

Yet, Weathers escaped unscathed. Scott Rolen popped out to second base on the first pitch, and on the second pitch, Lyle Overbay broke his bat on a grounder back to Weathers, who started the 1-2-3 double play that ended the inning. Weathers pumped his fist excitedly as he walked off the mound.

"That's not the easiest one to get out of," Weathers said.

Jared Burton (4-1) provided scoreless eighth and ninth innings to hold Toronto down until Cincinnati scraped something together with a small-ball rally in the top of the 10th.

"When you can come back and grind out a one-run game like that, it was good for us," said Burton, who has a 0.74 ERA over his last 20 appearances.

Back-to-back walks by Norris Hopper and Paul Janish off Brian Wolfe (0-2) and David Ross' sacrifice bunt set up the go-ahead run. Against Jesse Carlson, Jay Bruce skied a routine one-out fly ball to left field that easily scored Hopper. Francisco Cordero worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the 10th inning for his 15th save.

Coming off a 14-1 loss to Toronto on Tuesday, the Reds have a shot at taking two of three from the Blue Jays with a win on Thursday.

It could have been a disastrous night for the Reds, who blew an early five-run lead they had on Blue Jays starter Roy Halladay.

Ken Griffey Jr. gave the Reds a 2-0 first-inning lead when he connected for a two-run home run to right field off Halladay. It was Griffey's ninth homer of the season and No. 602 for his career. Four straight hits to start a three-run third inning helped the Reds widen the lead. Adam Dunn and Brandon Phillips each hit RBI singles, and a run-scoring fielder's choice by Joey Votto gave Cincinnati a 5-0 lead.

"You get five runs off Doc Halladay, that's almost unheard of," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

Halladay, the 2003 American League Cy Young Award winner, came in 4-1 with a 2.00 ERA over his last seven starts.

The Reds, who stranded 11 runners, went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position -- including leaving the bases loaded in the seventh.

Reds starter Aaron Harang labored and gave up four runs in the fourth, including a pair of two-run home runs to Adam Lind and Joe Inglett. Harang was charged with five earned runs and seven hits over 5 2/3 innings, with three walks and three strikeouts.

"It was a battle all night," Harang said.

Weathers was on the mound when he blew the save opportunity that let the tying run score in the sixth.

On Marco Scutaro's two-out RBI single to left field, Dunn made an on-target throw on one-hop ahead of Overbay, who scored from second base. The ball got past Ross, and the game was tied at 5.

Weathers certainly redeemed himself with crisis creation and crisis aversion maneuvers.

"That was beautiful," Baker said. "They could have been off to the races."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.