Blue Jays-Astros Preview

The Associated Press

The Toronto Blue Jays have been playing so well during their longest winning streak since May that general manager Alex Anthopoulos didn't feel the need to force a change Thursday.

Now Toronto will try to keep putting up big numbers offensively as it goes after a seventh straight victory Friday night against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

The Blue Jays (60-50) have averaged 6.6 runs and batted .323 with 15 homers while winning nine of 10, getting within 1 1/2 games of AL East-leading Baltimore and taking a three-game lead for the second wild-card spot.

Nolan Reimold hit two of the team's four home runs Thursday, including a go-ahead solo shot in the ninth inning of a 6-5 series-opening victory in Houston.

Dioner Navarro and Jose Bautista also homered for Toronto, which is on its longest win streak since winning a season-high nine in a row May 20-28. Navarro is hitting .381 with three homers in his last 10 games, and Bautista is batting .361 with four home runs over his past 10.

"They're definitely a power-hitting team," Houston manager Bo Porter said of Toronto, which tops the majors with 134 homers.

The Blue Jays reportedly had been in the market for help in their infield, bullpen and rotation, but weren't able to find the right moves to make before the trade deadline passed Thursday.

"Ultimately, if the deals had been there for us, we would have done them," Anthopoulos told MLB's official website. "But we didn't line up on any deals that we thought were going to improve the club."

The Astros (44-65), losers in seven of nine, made a move by acquiring outfielder Jake Marisnick, pitcher Francis Martes and infielder Colin Moran from Miami for pitcher Jarred Cosart, infielder/outfielder Kike Hernandez and outfielder Austin Wates.

Marisnick may be reporting to the big league roster after batting .167 in 14 games for the Marlins.

One deal they made shortly before the 2012 deadline was shipping J.A. Happ (8-5, 4.58 ERA) to Toronto, and he'll make his first start back in Houston since that trade.

Happ, who spent parts of three seasons with the Astros, has been mostly awful in his last four road games with an 0-2 record and 10.67 ERA. The best of those outings came Sunday, when he allowed three runs and four hits over 5 1-3 innings in a 5-4 road win over the New York Yankees.

He's 2-0 with a 2.53 ERA in two starts against the Astros, last facing them in 2010 with Philadelphia.

Houston's Collin McHugh (4-9, 3.45) will try to slow Toronto while putting an end to his six-start losing streak. The right-hander has posted a 4.46 ERA during the skid while receiving only five runs of support.

In his first outing after missing three weeks due to a loose nail on his throwing hand, McHugh worked 6 1-3 innings and allowed four runs while striking out nine in Sunday's 4-2 home loss to Miami.

"We go out, and for however many pitches we get - whether it's 95, 105, 120 - you go out and you get outs," McHugh said. "The offense, their job is to do their thing and get on base and score runs, and if everybody does their job, we win."

Major league hits leader Jose Altuve had been batting .396 during a 12-game hitting streak before going hitless Thursday.

Astros teammate Jon Singleton's only three hits in 15 at-bats over the last five games have been home runs.