TORONTO — Chris Colabello’s two-run single in the ninth inning gave the Toronto Blue Jays a dramatic 7-6 victory over the Houston Astros on Sunday afternoon at Rogers Centre.
He drove a pitch from Luke Gregerson back up the middle that scored Jose Reyes and Jose Bautista to the delight of the 35,571 fans in attendance.
Colabello extended his hitting streak to a career high 17 games on the play and gave Toronto its season-high fifth straight victory.
Earlier in the inning, Reyes drove in pinch-hitter Munenori Kawasaki to make it a one-run game. Kawasaki led off with a ground-rule double.
Houston (34-24) appeared primed to salvage the finale of the three-game series after scoring four runs in the seventh inning. Instead, the Astros’ losing skid grew to four games.
Bautista hit two solo homers for Toronto (28-30) and Canadian Russell Martin added a two-run shot.
Liam Hendriks (1-0) worked two innings of relief for the win. Gregerson (2-1) blew his second save of the season.
Bautista opened the scoring in the first inning by belting a Collin McHugh pitch for his 10th homer of the year. The Blue Jays slugger has reached base safely in 17 straight games.
The Astros took advantage of some suspect defence to pull even in the second inning. Colabello, a first baseman who’s playing left field in place of the injured Michael Saunders, took a poor route to a slicing drive by former Blue Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus.
The ball fell in and Colabello fumbled it once he got his glove on it. Rasmus moved to third base on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch.
Jake Marisnick hit a solo shot off Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey in the third inning to give Houston the lead. He took a full-count pitch deep for his fourth home run of the season.
Martin, a Toronto native who grew up in Chelsea, Que., restored the Blue Jays’ lead in the bottom half with his eighth homer of the season. Dioner Navarro scored ahead of him after reaching on a single.
Toronto had a chance to break the game open in the fifth inning but Navarro flew out with the bases loaded.
Dickey issued back-to-back walks in the sixth inning to load the bases with two outs. Aaron Loup came on in relief and struck out pinch-hitter Hank Conger.
In the seventh, Toronto reliever Bo Schultz put the first two runners on by hitting Marisnick with a pitch and giving up a single to George Springer. Jose Altuve hit a hard chopper that Josh Donaldson snared at third base but his throw to second sailed into right field, allowing Marisnick to score.
Evan Gattis added a two-run double and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Chris Carter.
In the ninth, Donaldson flew out for the first out and Reyes stole second. Bautista popped up in the infield but shortstop Jonathan Villar bumped into Reyes — who squatted down and covered his head while staying on the bag — and the ball dribbled loose.
The umpires discussed the play and ruled everyone was safe, drawing Astros manager A.J. Hinch out from the dugout to argue. A double steal put both runners in scoring position to set the stage for Colabello.
Notes: Dickey allowed four hits, two earned runs and four walks while striking out five. McHugh had three strikeouts over six innings and gave up seven hits, three earned runs and a walk. … Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion took the day off after getting a cortisone shot in his sore left shoulder on Saturday. He could return for Monday’s series opener against the visiting Miami Marlins. Right-hander Marco Estrada (2-3, 3.77 earned-run average) is scheduled to start against Marlins left-hander Brad Hand (1-1, 4.24). … The Astros will visit Chicago on Monday to wrap up their six-game road trip with a three-game set against the White Sox. … It was Marcus Stroman bobblehead day. … Donaldson has reached base in 38 straight games against the Astros. It’s the longest active streak in the major leagues for any player versus a club.
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Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press