TORONTO -- Brian Tallet's changeup was working so well against right-handed batters that Blue Jays catcher Rod Barajas started calling for it against lefties, too.
So far, so good. Instead of worrying about his changeup sinking down and in, the traditional power zone for left-handed hitters, Tallet's off-speed pitch is fooling batters on either side of the plate.
Tallet matched a career-high with seven strikeouts in six shutout innings and the Blue Jays homered three times to beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-5 on Tuesday.
"I saw how the righties were approaching his changeup early on in the season, they weren't having much success," Barajas said. "I'm like, 'Why don't we throw it to lefties? We went with it and he's done a great job. That's almost an out pitch now, that's almost better than his breaking ball or his cutter."
Marco Scutaro hit a two-run homer, Scott Rolen and Barajas each added solo shots for Toronto.
Pitching on three days' rest, Tallet (5-4) allowed just three hits and walked one.
"He did an unbelievable job," Barajas said. "He gave us six solid innings, didn't give up any runs and he let the offense go out there and do our thing."
Cincinnati slugger Joey Votto, who fanned twice against Tallet, said the left-hander's change was "very good."
"He was aggressive and he didn't seem like he had any type of fear," Votto said. "The guy went after us."
Tallet set down the first eight batters he faced and used a double-play grounder to get out of his only jam in the fourth.
"The important thing is to go back out there and put up a zero," Tallet said. "If you put up a zero, you keep the momentum and tonight we had the momentum the whole night."
Jason Frasor closed it out in the ninth for his second save in four chances.
The Reds (34-35) lost their third straight and fell below .500 for the first time since April 12, when they were 2-3.
Rolen opened the scoring with a homer to center in the second, his fifth.
One out later, Alex Rios singled, then stole second and third before scoring on Barajas' fielder's choice grounder.
Aaron Hill doubled and scored on Adam Lind's single in the third, and Barajas hit a one-out homer to left in the fourth, his seventh.
Scutaro chased Cincinnati starter Micah Owings in the sixth with a two-out drive that barely cleared the wall in left. The homer was Scutaro's first since April 30.
Owings (4-8) allowed six runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings and has lost five of his past eight starts. He walked two and struck out one.
"He wasn't wild today, he was almost in the strike zone too much," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.
Cincinnati scored four in the seventh against two Blue Jays relievers. Shawn Camp was yanked after loading the bases with two walks and a single, and Jay Bruce greeted lefty Jesse Carlson with a two-run double to right. Adam Rosales and Chris Dickerson followed with sacrifice flies.
Toronto made it 7-4 on Lind's RBI single off left-hander Danny Herrera in the bottom half, but Brandon Phillips had a run-scoring grounder against Blue Jays right-hander Brandon League in the eighth.
After being activated off the 15-day disabled list before the game, Votto revealed that anxiety over his father's death is what kept him out of the lineup since May 29. Joseph Votto died last August, aged 52. Votto, who went 1 for 4 with a single, did not disclose details of his father's death.
"The first few innings were a little tough but from about the fourth of fifth inning on I could just kind of be my old self," Votto said. "I felt fine, my swing felt good. I just missed some pitches. I'm not going to say I'm rusty but it's a little different hopping out in front of a big league pitcher than hitting batting practice and playing against A-ballers."
Blue Jays RHP Roy Halladay (groin) threw a bullpen session before the game and is scheduled to return to the rotation June 29 against Tampa Bay. Halladay (10-1) has not pitched since June 12. ... Toronto RHP Jeremy Accardo (groin) who left Sunday's game after facing just one batter, was not available. He is day to day. ... To make room for Votto, Cincinnati put utilityman Wilkin Castillo (shoulder) on the DL.