Jays collapse in ninth; Astros get walkoff win
The Houston Astros continue to find ways to win, with their latest victory coming thanks to a player who was called up from the minors just a day earlier. Juan Centeno hit an RBI single with two outs that capped a four-run rally in the ninth inning, lifting the Astros over the Toronto Blue Jays, 7-6, in American League baseball play Sunday for their 71st victory. Centeno was recalled from Triple-A Fresno on Saturday, when catcher Evan Gattis landed on the disabled list with a concussion. “He’s taken advantage of any small opportunity that’s been given,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “It’s hard to impact games the way he is. You get noticed and you get more opportunities.” Jose Altuve singled off All-Star closer Roberto Osuna (3-3) to begin Houston’s ninth, then singles by Yuli Gurriel and Marwin Gonzalez loaded the bases. Carlos Beltran grounded into a forceout that scored a run, and Alex Bregman’s two-run triple tied it. “I never get in that situation without my teammates,” Bregman said. “Great, great at-bat after at-bat, just something that our team’s done all year.” Centeno followed with a liner over the head of leaping first baseman Justin Smoak and into shallow right field to win it for the AL West leaders. “When things get rolling, they don’t let you up,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “It’s a deep lineup, they got caught up in it and they got some big hits.” Nori Aoki had a two-run homer, his first hit since being traded from Houston to Toronto last Monday, during a four-run seventh that gave the Blue Jays a 6-3 lead. Francis Martes (4-1) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings for the win. Osuna allowed five hits and four runs, while getting only two outs for his seventh blown save this season. The Blue Jays trailed by a run when Kevin Pillar singled off Mike Fiers to start the seventh. Aoki followed with his third home run this season on a shot to the bullpen in rightcentre to make it 4-3. Fiers then plunked Darwin Barney to end his day and was replaced by Luke Gregerson who allowed a single to Russell Martin with one out. Smoak hit a two-run double that bounced off the low wall in centre field. Toronto starter Marcus Stroman tied a season-high with 11 hits, but allowed just three runs — two earned — in 6 2/3 innings. Jose Bautista hit a two-run homer in the third for the Blue Jays. Fiers, who allowed four homers in five starts in July, has that many in two starts in August. THEY SAID IT Stroman on how dangerous Houston’s, is despite missing Springer and fellow All-Star Carlos Correa: “That’s an unbelievable lineup over there, 1-9, and Altuve is extremely special. They have a few big bats out, but the guys that have stepped in are unbelievable.” UP NEXT Blue Jays: Toronto had a day off on Monday before J.A. Happ (4-8, 3.92) takes the mound when they open a series against the Yankees on Tuesday. He allowed six hits and one run while fanning 10 in seven innings of a 5-1 win over the White Sox in his last start. Astros: Houston, was also off Monday before opening a series against the White Sox, with Dallas Keuchel (9-1, 2.15) on the mound on Tuesday. Keuchel looks to bounce back after taking his first loss of the season in a 3-0 loss to the Rays in his last start. The lefthanded ace allowed seven hits and three runs in five innings in his second start back, after spending almost two months on the DL with a pinched nerve in his neck.
Toronto’s Norichika Aoki rounds the bases after hitting a two-run homer. Blue Jays lost, 7-6.