HOUSTON — Nolan Reimold found out he was starting right before batting practice Thursday night. He made the most of the chance to play.
Reimold hit two home runs, including a tiebreaking solo shot in the ninth, and the streaking Toronto Blue Jays rallied for a 6-5 win over the Houston Astros.
Reimold was claimed off waivers on July 6 after he was designated for assignment by Baltimore. It was just his fifth start with Toronto.
Manager John Gibbons said the Blue Jays got Reimold and Danny Valencia for a reason. Valencia, who was acquired in a trade with Kansas City on Monday, had two hits.
“They’ve both played in the big leagues and had some success and they’re both going to help us out,” Gibbons said.
Reimold’s first homer came in the fifth and cut Houston’s lead to 4-3. His second homer of the season was off Chad Qualls (1-3) and sent Toronto to its ninth win in 10 games.
It was Reimold’s second career multihomer game and first since May 26, 2011.
“I was trying to be aggressive,” Qualls said. “I just wanted to be really aggressive with the fastball to get ahead. He ambushed it and hit it over the fence.”
Reimold has been hampered by an assortment of injuries the last two years. He said Thursday night helped show he might be back.
“It’s been two years since I could say that I feel like I am good enough to play again,” Reimold said. “It’s been a long process, so hopefully, all the work I did to come back pays off.”
Jose Bautista and Dioner Navarro also had solo homers for Toronto. Bautista connected for his 21st homer in the first, and Navarro tied it at four with his eighth in the sixth.
Aaron Sanchez (2-0) threw two scoreless innings for the win, and Casey Janssen pitched the ninth for his 18th save.
Jon Singleton homered for Houston, and Robbie Grossman had two hits.
“Their four solo home runs proved to be the difference in the game,” Houston manager Bo Porter said. “They’re definitely a power-hitting team.”
The Astros scored three times in the third to open a 4-2 lead. Grossman and Marc Krauss each hit an RBI single off Drew Hutchison, and Jason Castro had an RBI double.
Hutchison was charged with four runs and six hits in three innings. He is 2-5 with a 6.64 ERA in his last eight starts.
Gregorio Petit’s run-scoring groundout gave Houston a 5-4 lead in the sixth, but Bautista tied it again with a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
Jake Buchanan started for Houston after scheduled starter Jarred Cosart was dealt to Miami earlier in the day. Buchanan allowed three runs and five hits in five innings.
Blue Jays: First baseman Dan Johnson was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain. The Blue Jays recalled right-hander Chad Jenkins from Triple-A Buffalo.
Astros: Either outfielder George Springer, who has been on the disabled list since July 20, or Dexter Fowler, who has been on the DL since June 27, could go on a rehab assignment during the next road trip, which starts Monday, Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow said.
Left-hander J.A. Happ (8-5, 4.58 ERA) starts for Toronto on Friday against his former team. The Astros are sending right-hander Collin McHugh (4-9, 3.45 ERA) to the mound.
Toronto outfielder Colby Rasmus was scratched for being late to the stadium. “I wasn’t here when I was supposed to be here, and they punished me as they should have,” Rasmus said. Anthony Gose started in centre field, and Rasmus entered in seventh as a defensive substitution.
Houston acquired outfielder Jake Marisnick, infielder Colin Moran and right-hander Frances Martes as well as a 2015 compensatory draft pick from Miami for right-hander Jarred Cosart, infielder Kike Hernandez and outfielder Austin Wates.
Right-hander Brad Peacock, who was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Sunday, will likely take Cosart’s place in the Houston rotation, Luhnow said.