Astros Begin Interleague Exhibition Series In Toronto

(Sports Network) - The Houston Astros pay their first-ever visit to Toronto this evening when they play the first of three interleague games against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

These teams have only met on one other occasion and that was back in 2005 when the Astros swept all three games from the Jays at Minute Maid Park.

Houston, though, comes into tonight's matchup riding a five-game losing streak after dropping a 4-2 decision to the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday. Hunter Pence and Humberto Quintero both had two hits for the Astros, who have dropped 10 of their last 12 games overall.

J.A. Happ (3-5) went six innings, allowing three runs on four hits, walked three and struck out eight.

"I felt good," Happ said. "The difference today was bad pitching with guys on base."

Heading to the hill tonight for Houston will be rookie Aneury Rodriguez, who has lost his last two starts. After giving up just one hit in five scoreless innings in his first big league start, Rodriguez has been pounded to the tune of 12 runs and 13 hits over his last two outings, spanning 10 innings.

It won't get any easier for the 23-year-old right-hander tonight, as he faces a Blue Jays team that has won seven of their last eight games. Toronto continued to impress on Thursday, as J.P. Arencibia hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh inning, powering the Blue Jays past the Tampa Bay Rays, 3-2.

Arencibia's blast made a winner of Ricky Romero (4-4), who evened his record by holding the Rays to one run on three hits and two walks over seven innings. He said the key to his success was simply getting the ball in the zone.

"I've been throwing a lot of strikes with my fastball and getting ahead, and I think that's been the biggest difference," Romero said.

Juan Rivera also homered for the Blue Jays, who had won six in a row prior to a 6-5 loss in the two-game series opener on Wednesday.

Hoping to keep the Jays momentum rolling tonight will be lefty Jo-Jo Reyes, who is 0-3 with a 4.75 ERA. Reyes did not get a decision on Saturday in Minnesota, but allowed three runs (two earned) and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings. He also struck out six and walked a batter.

Reyes has faced the Astros four times and is 1-1 with a 6.52 ERA against them.

Toronto was 7-11 last season in interleague play, while the Astros finished a club-worst 3-12 versus the American League a year ago.

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