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Toronto's Bonifacio comes off bench, keys win

The SportsXchange

TORONTO -- Emilio Bonifacio doesn't get much playing time these days for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Maicer Izturis has started to hit well so he gets most of the starts at second base, leaving Bonifacio for pinch running and spot duty in left field late in games.

It paid off for him in Sunday's 2-1 victory over the Houston Astros.

Bonifacio entered the game in the seventh inning as a pinch runner for Melky Cabrera, stayed to play left field and then led off the ninth inning with a double.

He came around to score the winning run on a one-out single by Colby Rasmus.

"He's kind of been the odd man out lately," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Izturis picked it up with the bat so Bonny's really been used for pinch running and things like that. It was a huge hit for him to get that inning started."

The Blue Jays won three of the four games in the series with the Astros to complete their disappointing homestand at 3-7.

"It's huge," Rasmus said. "We've got to put together as many wins as we can, just keep battling, keep grinding."

Bonifacio's double to center came against Jose Cisnero (2-2). Left-hander Wesley Wright came in to strike out Adam Lind before walking Edwin Encarnacion intentionally. Rasmus bounced a 3-2 sinker up the middle into center field as Bonifacio raced home.

In his previous at bat, Rasmus left the bases loaded when he popped up to end the seventh.

"The at bat before that was a tough one, they walked Edwin in front of me and things didn't go my way," Rasmus said. "It wasn't the easiest at bat.

"The last at bat I went up there telling myself, 'I'm looking for a cookie and I'm not swinging at anything else until I have to.'"

Casey Janssen (3-0) pitched the top of the ninth to gain the win.

The Blue Jays outhit the Astros 7-5 and Astros pitchers issued 10 walks, but Toronto stranded 14 runners.

"All those guys left on base, we had opportunities and we couldn't capitalize and it came down to the big hit out of Colby late," Gibbons said. "It set up the way they wanted to in their factor and they were able to walk Eddie but Colby stepped up."

Blue Jays starter Todd Redmond struck out a career-best 10 in six innings. The right-hander allowed three hits including a home run by Brett Wallace. The 10 strikeouts equaled a club high for the season.

"Redmond did another great job, 10 strikeouts," Gibbons said. "He keeps you in games. He competes, he gets big outs."

"He was effectively wild," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "I think we expanded our zone a little bit, which probably aided in the strikeout total. We did a lot of good things, we just didn't do enough to win the ball game."

Astros' right-hander Jarred Cosart, making his third major-league start, allowed four hits, five walks and one run in his six innings.

"His fastball command was definitely not there today, there were several walks but he did a great job," Porter said. "Defensively we backed him with some really good plays."

"Today I was just out of sync on my windup," Cosart said. "I'm working on some stuff and I threw that out today, just trying to get through the game. Since I've been here, we've been in every game. Sometimes it's us not catching a break."

The Blue Jays took a 1-0 lead in the third on a sacrifice fly by Encarnacion. It scored Jose Reyes who led off with a walk, took second on Cabrera's second single of the day, and moved to third on Jose Bautista's fly to right.

Wallace tied the game in the fourth when he hit a 3-1 pitch to right center for his sixth homer of the season.

Encarnacion thought he had hit a home run in the sixth. But he was stopped at second with a double because the umpires ruled that the ball had hit the top of the fence, bounced up, and stayed in the park. The decision stood after a video review.

The Blue Jays lost Bautista in the seventh when was ejected by plate umpire Sam Holbrook for complaining after he struck out.

"I understand the frustration. That's the way it goes but we need him on the field. He's a big part of our team," Gibbons said.

"I said 'I thought you have the biggest bleep strike zone I've seen all year' and that was it, I was out of the game," Bautista said.

NOTES: Attendance at Rogers Centre was 31,634. ... INF Jake Elmore started at second base for the Astros as 2B Jose Altuve (tight left quadriceps) was given the day off. OF Robbie Grossman who was called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Saturday started in left field. ... Bautista started at DH for Sunday's game with Davis in right field and equaled his career high for a game with four stolen bases. ... The Astros have Monday off before opening a three-game series at Baltimore on Tuesday with RHP Bud Norris (6-9, 3.93 ERA) facing the Orioles' LHP Wei-Yin Chen (5-3, 2.78 ERA). ... The Blue Jays open a three-game series in Oakland on Monday with RHP Esmil Rogers (3-4, 3.74 ERA) facing RHP A.J. Griffin (9-7, 3.84 ERA)
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