Matt Chapman doubled off Vladimir Guerrero Jr. with two outs in the ninth inning and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Houston Astros 4-3 on Friday night for their third straight win.

Chapman’s tiebreaking drive from left-center off reliever Hector Neris (1-1) scored Guerrero from first base. Houston lost its third in a row.

“He wasn’t really trying to do too much, he just wanted to extend the inning, get Vladdy in scoring position and keep the inning going,” Chapman said. “Get the next one up. Luckily I was able to find that space and Vladdy was on his horse, so it was good to do that race.”

The Astros put runners at the corners with one out in the bottom of the ninth on singles by Yuli Gurriel and Aledmys Diaz off Jordan Romano.

After Jason Castro struck out, JJ Matijevic was sent to the plate for his major league debut, pinch-hitting for Martin Maldonado. The lefty-righty matchup didn’t work out for the Astros when Romano fanned Matijevic for his eighth save.

“First and third, but don’t panic,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said of Romano. “He was shooting 97-98 [mph] today. He has been off. I have to keep talking about him because it’s not easy to do what he’s doing. But again, pitching and defense won this game.”

Tim Mayza (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth inning.

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Justin Verlander made his first start against the Blue Jays since going hitless on Sept. 1, 2019, in Toronto. On Friday night, he kept Toronto hitless until Raimel Tapia singled to right field in the fourth inning.

Verlander pitched six innings and allowed three runs on four hits. He struck out five and walked one.

“My stuff wasn’t as sharp as I’d like, just a little loose,” Verlander said. “But you don’t have your best stuff every time.”

The Astros took a 3-0 lead in the third on a one-out double by Maldonado that was followed by a walk to Jeremy Pena and singles by Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman and Gurriel.

“Early in the game, we didn’t have a lot of good at-bats, but then on the second down, the at-bats got better and got him out of there before we did any more damage,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. saying.

The Blue Jays tied it at 3 in the fifth on back-to-back homers by Santiago Espinal and Bradley Zimmer. The solo shots, both to left field, came on back-to-back pitches and marked the first home runs of the year for both Espinal and Zimmer.

Toronto scored its first run in the fourth after Tapia led off the inning with a single and then scored on a groundout.

Blue Jays starter Ross Stripling allowed five hits in four innings, giving up three runs and striking out two.

“I’m so happy, I’m smiling,” Montoyo said. “Not just because we’re winning, but because we’re playing good defense and we’re pitching and that’s how you’re going to win. Of course, everyone talks about our hitting, but as you know, it’s hard to hit.” But if we keep doing what we’re doing, I feel good with this team.”

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Springer hoping to play Saturday

The Blue Jays’ George Springer was out of the lineup after taking a bruise to his right wrist Thursday.

Springer said before the game that he hopes to play Saturday night. It is his first trip back to Houston, where he spent seven seasons before signing with Toronto in 2021.

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