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Astros rally in ninth inning to walk off Blue Jays

Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Darwin Barney is tagged out by Houston Astros catcher Juan Centeno on a play during the seventh inning at Minute Maid Park.

Troy Taormina/USA Today

The Houston Astros continue to find ways to win, with their latest victory coming thanks to a player who was called up from the minors just a day earlier.

Juan Centeno hit an RBI single with two outs that capped a four-run rally in the ninth inning, lifting the Astros over the Toronto Blue Jays 7-6 Sunday for their 71st victory.

Centeno was recalled from Triple-A Fresno on Saturday when catcher Evan Gattis landed on the disabled list with a concussion.

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"He's taken advantage of any small opportunity that's been given," manager A.J. Hinch said. "It's hard to impact games the way he is. You get noticed and you get more opportunities."

Jose Altuve singled off All-Star closer Roberto Osuna (3-3) to begin the Houston ninth and one-out singles by Yuli Gurriel and Marwin Gonzalez loaded the bases. Carlos Beltran grounded into a forceout that scored a run, and Alex Bregman hit a tying, two-run triple.

"I never get in that situation without my teammates," Bregman said. "Great, great at-bat after at-bat, just something that our team's done all year."

Centeno followed with a liner over the head of leaping first baseman Justin Smoak and into shallow right field to win it for the AL West leaders.

"When things get rolling, they don't let you up," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "It's a deep lineup, they got caught up in it and they got some big hits."

Nori Aoki had a two-run homer, his first hit since being traded from Houston to Toronto last Monday, during a four-run seventh that gave the Blue Jays a 6-3 lead.

Francis Martes (4-1) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings for the win. Osuna allowed five hits and four runs while getting only two outs for his seventh blown save this season.

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The Blue Jays trailed by a run when Kevin Pillar singled off Mike Fiers to start the seventh. Aoki followed with his third home run this season on a shot to the bullpen in right-centre to make it 4-3.

Fiers then plunked Darwin Barney to end his day and was replaced by Luke Gregerson who allowed a single to Russell Martin with one out. Smoak hit a two-run double that bounced off the low wall in centre field.

Toronto starter Marcus Stroman tied a season-high with 11 hits, but allowed just three runs — two earned — in 6 2/3 innings.

Jose Bautista hit a two-run homer in the third for the Blue Jays.

Fiers, who allowed four homers in five starts in July, has matched that number in just two starts this month.

TRAINER'S ROOM

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Astros: OF George Springer, who has been out since July 25 with a strained left quadriceps, has been improving and could come off the disabled list as soon as Tuesday. Hinch said Springer worked out on Sunday and would have a day off on Monday before resuming work on Tuesday when they could make a decision about whether to activate him.

AOKI'S HOMER

Aoki didn't homer at Minute Maid Park in 32 games as an Astro this season before going deep on Sunday in his first start this season as a visitor against Houston. The home run stung a bit more for Hinch since Aoki was on his team earlier this week.

"I hated it to be dead honest ... I have so much respect for him, but I would have liked it more had he not done that," he said.

THEY SAID IT

Stroman on how dangerous Houston's offence is despite missing Springer and fellow All-Star Carlos Correa: "That's an unbelievable lineup over there, 1-9, and Altuve is extremely special. They have a few big bats out, but the guys that have stepped in are unbelievable as well."

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: Toronto has a day off on Monday before J.A. Happ pitches for the Blue Jays when they open a series against the Yankees on Tuesday. He allowed six hits and one run while fanning 10 in seven innings of a 5-1 win over the White Sox in his last start.

Astros: Houston is off on Monday before opening a series against the White Sox with Dallas Keuchel (9-1, 2.15) on the mound on Tuesday. Keuchel looks to bounce back after taking his first loss of the season in a 3-0 loss to the Rays in his last start. The left ace allowed seven hits and three runs in five innings in his second start back after spending almost two months on the disabled list with a pinched nerve in his neck.

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