Quiet at Deadline, Blue Jays make noise with bats

Toronto connects on four homers, including two from Reimold

Quiet at Deadline, Blue Jays make noise with bats

HOUSTON -- The Blue Jays didn't make any trades on Deadline Day, but the moves they pulled off earlier this month paid dividends on Thursday night.

Prior to the series opener in Houston, there was some noticeable disappointment inside the clubhouse over Toronto not making a big deal. But in an ironic twist, two guys acquired well before that 4 p.m. ET deadline played key roles in extending the club's winning streak to six games.

Nolan Reimold hit a pair of home runs -- including the go-ahead shot in the ninth inning -- and Danny Valencia went 2-for-4 with a run scored in the Blue Jays' 6-5 victory over the Astros at Minute Maid Park.

"That's the reason we grabbed Reimold off the waiver wire, and we got Valencia for a reason," manager John Gibbons said. "They both played in the big leagues, and they've had some success. They're really going to help us out."

Reimold was claimed off waivers from Baltimore earlier this month but appeared in only four games before going on the disabled list with a strained left calf. He was activated on Sunday but had yet to find his way into the lineup.

That was to have been the case again on Thursday, but Reimold was inserted into the lineup prior to batting practice after center fielder Colby Rasmus was benched for showing up late. Toronto shifted around a couple of players, created a spot for Reimold at DH and, coincidentally enough, that turned into a game-changing decision.

Reimold's first home run came in the fifth inning, and his second proved to be the difference-maker. Toronto and Houston were locked in a 5-5 tie in the top of the ninth when Reimold sent a first-pitch offering from Chad Qualls over the wall in left field.

"Baseball is a funny game sometimes. I felt really uncomfortable the first at-bat, and it's really funny how one at-bat can settle you down and turn things around for you," Reimold said. "That's kind of what happened tonight."

Valencia also made his presence felt with a double and a single, but it was the home runs that mostly stole the show. The Blue Jays are known as a power-hitting team, and that certainly proved to be the case in this one.

Jose Bautista opened the scoring in the first with a shot to left for his 21st home run of the season. Dioner Navarro's eighth came in the sixth; all of Toronto's homers on the night were solo shots.

Houston right-hander Jake Buchanan was handed starting duties late Thursday afternoon after Jarred Cosart was dealt to Marlins prior to the Deadline. Buchanan was charged with three runs on five hits and no walks over five innings.

"Obviously, their four solo home runs proved to be the difference in the ballgame," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "They definitely are a power-hitting team."

Toronto starter Drew Hutchison was chased after three innings, having allowed four runs. Hutchison has battled inconsistency this season, and it became clear early that he was in for a subpar outing. His velocity was a little down, but even more alarming, a lot of his pitches were up in the zone.

Hutchison stranded one baserunner in the first, then allowed a solo homer to Jon Singleton in the second. The vast majority of his issues came in the third, after he allowed a leadoff single to No. 9 hitter Gregorio Petit. Hutchison balked Petit to second before Robbie Grossman came through with an RBI single.

Before the third came to an end, Jason Castro added an RBI double and Marc Krauss contributed an RBI single. Gibbons went with the early hook; Hutchison did not come back out for the fourth after surrendering six hits in one of his shortest outings of the season.

Long reliever Todd Redmond was one of the main reasons the Blue Jays were able to remain within striking distance. Redmond allowed an unearned run on two hits and three walks over 2 2/3 innings.

"Basically, Hutch didn't have it tonight," Gibbons said. "Red has been so good, he was well rested. [I decided to] put him in there and see if he can keep the game close, keep us in that thing, and that's just what he did."

The Blue Jays are now 11-3 and have yet to lose a series since the All-Star break. Toronto has three more games in Houston before returning home.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.