Series: Game 3 of 4

Toronto leads 2-1 (as of 7/27)

Game 1: Thursday, July 25
Game 2: Friday, July 26
Game 3: Saturday, July 27
Game 4: Sunday, July 28

Astros 8

(35-68, 17-31 away)

Blue Jays 6

(47-56, 27-28 home)

    1:07 PM ET, July 27, 2013

    Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario 

    123456789 R H E
    HOU 400201100 8 8 0
    TOR 110010030 6 11 0

    W: D. Keuchel (5-5)

    L: J. Johnson (1-7)

    S: J. Veras (19)

    Astros-Blue Jays Preview


    The Toronto Blue Jays have finally strung together a couple of wins.

    Josh Johnson would settle for one at this point.

    The right-hander will try to avoid a career-worst fifth consecutive losing start Saturday when the Blue Jays and major league-worst Houston Astros continue their series north of the border.

    After Mark Buehrle's two-hitter in Thursday's 4-0 series-opening victory helped Toronto (47-55) end a season-high seven-game skid, the Blue Jays equaled a team record with 12 extra-base hits in Friday's 12-6 victory.

    Edwin Encarnacion hit two of the club's five homers, a solo shot and a grand slam in the eight-run seventh. The only other Blue Jay to homer twice in one inning was Joe Carter on Oct. 3, 1993, against Baltimore.

    "I don't think you can get any better than that," manager John Gibbons said after Toronto won back-to-back games for the first time since a franchise record-tying 11-game surge June 11-23. "He's having another great year (with 28 home runs)."

    Johnson (1-6, 5.66 ERA) is not. He's 0-4 with a 7.71 ERA in five starts since defeating the Orioles on June 23 after lasting just two-plus innings in Monday's 14-5 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, allowing five runs and seven hits and calling his performance "pitiful."

    "You feel for the guy because he's competing but it just hasn't happened," Gibbons said.

    Johnson, who also lost four consecutive starts Aug. 9-25 while with the Marlins, is 0-2 with a 4.84 ERA in four career starts versus Houston.

    He'll face an Astros team that's dropped 19 of 23 overall and 15 of 19 on the road.

    Houston (34-68) will try to get back on track with Dallas Keuchel (4-5, 4.42) going for his first win in six starts. The left-hander was in position to pick up a victory Monday, exiting with a 3-1 lead in the sixth inning, but the bullpen faltered again in a 4-3 loss.

    The Astros have blown 15 saves and their relief corps has been tagged for a major league-high 64 homers -- 22 more than anyone else in baseball.

    "It doesn't matter about what the other team is going to do," manager Bo Porter said. "We have to do a better job of making quality pitches in those situations."

    One positive for Houston heading into the weekend is the play of Marc Krauss, who went 2 for 4 with a homer and four RBIs on Friday. The rookie left fielder had four RBIs in his first 20 games since getting called up June 21 when Trevor Crowe (shoulder) went on the disabled list.

    Krauss could get more playing time with J.D. Martinez (sprained left wrist) being placed on the disabled list after getting injured Friday. The club called up center fielder Robbie Grossman to take Martinez's spot.

    Jose Reyes is swinging one of the hottest bats for the Blue Jays since the All-Star break. Reyes is hitting .394 during that eight-game stretch with two homers, four doubles and seven RBIs after reaching safely five times and coming up a triple shy of the cycle Friday.

    Colby Rasmus' 4-for-5 effort, meanwhile, lifted his average to .393 since the break.

    Toronto has won three of four from Houston since losing the first four matchups between these clubs.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Gameday Matchup

    Current StreakL15L1
    Last 100-104-6

    Pitching Matchup

    D. Keuchel
    6-10, 5.15 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/25 at TEX
    5.2 IP, 6 ER
    Dec = Loss
    J. Johnson
    2-8, 6.20 ERA

    Last Game:
    8/6 at SEA
    5.0 IP, 0 ER
    Dec = Win

    Gameday Lineups

    1. J. Villar, SS J. Reyes, SS
    2. J. Altuve, 2B M. Cabrera, LF
    3. J. Castro, C J. Bautista, RF
    4. C. Carter, DH E. Encarnacion, 1B
    5. B. Wallace, 1B A. Lind, DH
    6. M. Krauss, LF M. DeRosa, 2B
    7. J. Maxwell, RF C. Rasmus, CF
    8. M. Dominguez, 3B J. Arencibia, C
    9. B. Barnes, CF B. Lawrie, 3B

    Research Notes

    Josh Johnson has generated a miss on 43 percent of the swings taken against his breaking ball, the fourth-best rate in MLB. The Houston Astros have the worst miss percentage against breaking balls in the league (36 percent).
    Josh Johnson allowed at least five runs in a start for the sixth time this season on Saturday, tied for his most such starts in any single season in his career. Johnson also allowed five or more runs in six different games last season, but he did so in 31 starts. Saturday was his 14th start this season.
    Astros designated hitter Chris Carter's 1st-inning home run off Josh Johnson was calculated at 428 feet, the second longest homer of his career (434 feet on July 15, 2012).

    ESPN Stats & Information