HOUSTON — The emotional bond between Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and his older brother Yuli is strong, and meetings on the baseball field are always a highlight for the Cuban brothers.
And the Blue Jays left fielder came this close to claiming bragging rights Sunday afternoon at Minute Maid Park.
A home run in the fifth inning and a game-winning RBI double in the top of the 10th seemed to give the Blue Jays a good chance to sweep their first series of the season.
Instead, the Blue Jays’ normally unflappable closer, Jordan Romano, gave up a two-run homer to rookie Jeremy Pena in the bottom half as the Astros drove off to win 8-7.
It was the first blown save for Romano, who already had eight successful ones this season and spoiled a gutsy comeback by the Blue Jays, who were unusually sloppy on the field.
The Blue Jays still took the three-game series, 2-1, though they fell in a tie for first place in the AL East with the New York Yankees, both teams going 10-6.
The Astros also scored three unearned runs thanks to downfield errors by shortstop Bo Bichette and first baseman Cavan Biggio.
But the plucky Blue Jays continued to play at-bats against Astros’ dancing starter Luis Garcia and claimed a 6-5 lead in the seventh, only to regain it in the bottom half.
That set the stage for the Blue Jays’ first extra-inning game of the season, and it didn’t end well.
AROUND THE BASES
A pair of singles by Vlad Guerrero Jr. gives him eight multi-hit games on the season and three in a row… Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit his first home run of the season, a solo shot in the fifth … Jays reliever Yimi Garcia got a pregame visit when Houston manager Dusty Baker stopped by to present the former Astros pitcher with his ALCS championship ring. 2021 … Saturday’s dramatic win here was the 200th of manager Charlie Montoyo’s managerial career.
The Blue Jays would return home after Sunday’s game, where they will begin their longest homestand of the season.
Toronto’s 10-game residency begins with four against the Red Sox beginning Monday, followed by three more against the Astros and another three-pack against the Yankees.
The rotation will stay on course with José Berríos getting the ball on Monday followed by Kevin Gausman, Ross Stripling and Alek Manoah.