Jays eye win in rematch against Astros’ Ronel Blanco

Houston Astros right-hander Ronel Blanco no-hit the Toronto Blue Jays on April 1 in a 10-0 home gem.

Wednesday night in Toronto, the Blue Jays will have another chance to figure him out. The Astros have won 10 of their past 12 games, but they’ve split the first two games of their four-game series with Toronto.

On Tuesday, staked to a 7-0 lead, the Blue Jays held on for a 7-6 win.

In April, Blanco, who now is 8-3 with a 2.49 ERA, held the Blue Jays to two walks and struck out seven in Houston’s 10-0 win in his 105-pitch no-hitter.

In three career games (two starts) against Toronto, he is 1-0 with a 1.15 ERA.

“At this point, I feel very good,” Blanco said after his start on Friday, when he allowed six runs (three earned) in a 7-2 loss to the New York Mets. “I feel very good physically. I thought at this point in the season, I was going to be a little more tired, feel a little heavier. But I’m not really feeling that right now.”

The Astros have closed the gap in the American League West and now are just three games behind the first-place Seattle Mariners, who are 3-7 in their past 10 games.

“Like I said before, there was going to be a time where the team was going to get to a point where they were going to click,” said Houston’s Yordan Alvarez, who had a three-run homer and a single on Tuesday.

It was Alvarez’s 18th homer of the season. Over his past 25 games, he is batting .355 (33-for-93) with eight doubles, a triple, nine home runs and 24 RBIs. He is batting .304 (34-for-112) with 11 homers and 26 RBIs in 30 career games against Toronto.

The Blue Jays are scheduled to start left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (4-8, 4.18 ERA) on Wednesday. Kikuchi is 1-5 with a 6.27 ERA in 13 career starts against the Astros. He last faced them in 2022.

Toronto right fielder George Springer continued his resurgence with a three-run homer against his former team on Tuesday.

Springer’s ninth homer of the season extended his hitting streak to seven games. He is 12-for-24 (.500) with four homers and 13 RBIs during that span.

Spencer Horwitz hit his third homer of the season and is earning a regular spot in the Toronto lineup. He played mostly second base and some first base in 21 games since his recall from Triple-A Buffalo.

“When you think of a first baseman, you think of a guy. … who is hitting the ball hard, hitting home runs and driving runs in,” Toronto manager John Schneider said. “Spencer can do that, but when you look at the overall quality of his at-bats — not being in a rush, having a plan every single time — that’s the impressive part. When you add in some defensive versatility to it, it’s tough to take him out of the lineup.”

Toronto put infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa (left knee sprain) on the injured list Tuesday and recalled infielder Leo Jimenez from Triple-A Buffalo.

Kiner-Falefa injured his knee while stretching before the series opener on Monday, a 3-1 Houston win. He is considered “week to week.” He was hitting .354 over his past 23 games.

Schneider said the team will miss Kiner-Falefa.

“The production has been consistent all year, but lately it’s been great. So yeah, it’s a tough loss,” he said.

Houston on Tuesday optioned utility player Cooper Hummel to Triple-A Sugar Land and recalled infielder Grae Kessinger.

–Field Level Media