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Reimold homers twice as Blue Jays edge Astros

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[August 01, 2014]  HOUSTON -- Even without a couple key offensive cogs, the Toronto Blue Jays continue to showcase the raw power necessary to remain in contention in the American League East.

Designated hitter Nolan Reimold recorded his second career multi-homer game, and Toronto hit four home runs in a 6-5 victory over the Houston Astros on Thursday night at Minute Maid Park.

Reimold, a late lineup addition when center fielder Colby Rasmus was scratched an hour before first pitch, snapped a 5-5 tie with a solo shot to left field off Astros right-hander Chad Qualls in the ninth inning.

Reimold slugged a leadoff homer in the fifth, his first long ball of the season.

"I felt really uncomfortable the first at-bat," Reimold said. "It's just funny how one swing can really settle you down and turn things around for you. That's what's happened for me tonight."

The Blue Jays (60-50) pulled even in the eighth inning when Jose Bautista delivered a sacrifice fly that scored shortstop Jose Reyes, who led off the frame with a single off right-hander Josh Fields.

Bautista homered in the first, his 21st, and Blue Jays catcher Dioner Navarro clubbed his eighth homer in the sixth.

"Their four solo home runs proved to be the difference in the game," Astros manager Bo Porter said of the Blue Jays. "They're definitely a power-hitting team."

Right-hander Casey Janssen recorded his 18th save for the surging Blue Jays.

Qualls (1-3) took his second loss of the homestand for the short-handed Astros (44-65).

Toronto rallied from deficits of 4-2 and 5-4 to claim its sixth consecutive victory and 11th win in 13 contests. The Blue Jays trail the first-place Baltimore Orioles by 1 1/2 games in the AL East.

"I tip my hat to the guys," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, whose team continues to plug away without Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie and Adam Lind and their 42 combined homers. "We had a long night on the plane (from Boston), they were all tired, but they responded today."

After the trade of right-hander Jarred Cosart, the scheduled starter on Thursday, the Astros called upon right-hander Jake Buchanan in a pinch. Three batters in, he trailed 1-0 after hanging a 2-2 curveball that Bautista deposited into the left field seats.

Toronto doubled the lead when second baseman Ryan Goins delivered an RBI single that scored third baseman Danny Valencia in the second inning, but the Astros clawed back with a run in the bottom of the second before they provided Buchanan a lead with a three-run third inning.

Blue Jays right-hander Drew Hutchinson, yanked after three innings, allowed outfielders Robbie Grossman and Marc Krauss to sandwich RBI singles around a run-scoring double by Astros catcher Jason Castro.

Buchanan surrendered a run in the fifth -- his final inning -- and departed with a 4-3 lead that the bullpen promptly surrendered.

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"I had plenty of rest since the last time I was out, so it pretty much felt like a normal start," Buchanan said. "(Pitching coach Brent) Strom just told me to go out there and go as far as I can go for a long as I can go.

"I felt fine, I didn't throw that many pitches, and I felt that I could have gone back out there. I am sure they were just wanting to be cautious with me being on three days' rest. That's their call."

With two outs in the sixth, Navarro smacked a solo home run to right off Astros right-hander Jose Veras, knotting the score at 4.

Fields and Qualls also came out of the Houston bullpen to allow runs. The Astros failed to match the strong relief effort produced by the Blue Jays. Right-hander Todd Redmond kept Houston in check while surrendering one unearned run over 2 2/3 innings. Left-hander Brett Cecil got one out, and right-hander Aaron Sanchez (2-0) worked two perfect innings in advance of Jansen.

NOTES: Toronto OF Nolan Reimold's other multi-homer game was against the Kansas City Royals for the Baltimore Orioles on May 26, 2011. ... Blue Jays CF Colby Rasmus was a late scratch, disciplined for arriving late to the ballpark. Rasmus entered as a defensive replacement in the seventh inning. ... The Astros completed a six-player trade at the non-waiver deadline, sending RHP Jarred Cosart, INF/OF Enrique Hernandez and OF Austin Wates to the Miami Marlins in exchange for OF Jake Marisnick, 3B Colin Moran, RHP Frances Martes and a 2015 compensation pick. Cosart was scheduled to start Thursday night against the Blue Jays. RHP Jake Buchanan got the last-minute start, but the Astros plan to recall RHP Brad Peacock from Triple-A Oklahoma City to fill the rotation spot moving forward. ... The Blue Jays recalled RHP Chad Jenkins from Triple-A Buffalo and placed 1B/DH Dan Johnson on the 15-day disabled list due to a left hamstring strain. ... RHP Esmil Rogers, designated for assignment by Toronto on Sunday, was claimed off waivers by the New York Yankees.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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