HOUSTON — Toronto manager John Gibbons had no doubt his third base coach would send Rob Refsnyder home as the tiebreaking run in the 10th inning Saturday night.
The gamble paid off.
Ryan Goins hit the tiebreaking RBI single in the 10th inning, and the Blue Jays rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Houston Astros.
“It was close,” Goins said. “It was a hard play to say if he would be out or safe. We have come out on the wrong side of those a lot this year, so it was nice to finally get on our side.”
Goins hit the two-out single to left field off Francisco Liriano (6-7), and Refsnyder touched home plate with his left hand just before Brian McCann tagged him.
“It’s two outs, game on the line, you’re in extra innings, man let’s go,” Gibbons said. “You’ve got to gamble, you’ve got to make them throw you out. Lucky it was just the right side of the plate just enough. But without the great slide by Refsnyder he’s probably out anyway.”
Refsnyder, who played with McCann while the two were with the Yankees, said he knew McCann would try to swipe at him from across his body.
“I knew it was going to be close,” Refsnyder said. “He had to come across his body. He’s really good at it, so I was trying to time it up and hopefully, he was going to make his tag and try to avoid it.”
Derek Fisher charged the ball in left field, but his throw drew McCann to the right side of home plate, and McCann had to dive back towards Refsnyder.
“With a play like that, bang, bang, you can’t really see anything,” McCann said. “It’s one of those you dive and hope for the best. He made a nice slide.”
The Astros challenged the call, which stood after a nearly two-minute review.
“It was a funky slide,” Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. “The call stood, which it means if he would have called him out they probably wouldn’t have switched it over either.”
Ryan Tepera (6-1) threw two innings for the win, and Roberto Osuna got the last three outs for his 28th save.
Kevin Pillar tied it at 3-3 in the seventh, beating the throw home on Jose Bautista’s fielder’s choice to first.
Josh Reddick hit a two-run homer in the first to give Houston a 2-1 lead, and Tyler White hit a solo home run off the train tracks in left field to lead off the third and put the Astros ahead 3-2. White’s home run was his third in two games.
Josh Donaldson hit an RBI double to deep center in the first, and Bautista tied the game at 2-2, with a run-scoring grounder in the second.
Marco Estrada gave up three runs and five hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings. The right-hander had his third straight good start but has not won since May 27.
Charlie Morton allowed three runs and seven hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings for the Astros.
Astros: C Evan Gattis was placed on the 7-day concussion disabled list after getting hit in the head with a backswing Thursday. “We are hopeful that it might just be the seven days, but at this point, we don’t know,” Hinch said. Houston recalled C Juan Centeno from Triple-A Fresno. … OF George Springer (left quad discomfort) ran the bases Saturday, Hinch said. Hinch is hopeful that he could return as soon as the Chicago series, which starts Tuesday. … RHP Will Harris (right shoulder inflammation) will travel with the team on the upcoming road trip and should start a throwing program soon, Hinch said.
Jeff Bagwell was honored in a pregame ceremony for entering the Hall of Fame last weekend. Bagwell played his entire 15-year career with the Astros and has his number retired by the club. Former teammate Lance Berkman, former manager Phil Garner and Astros President Reid Ryan were among those who spoke during the ceremony.
Blue Jays: Toronto designated RHP Mike Bolsinger for assignment Saturday and called up RHP Taylor Cole from Triple-A Buffalo.
Astros: Houston called up INF J.D. Davis from Triple-A Fresno on Saturday. Davis went 1 for 4, with three strikeouts, in his debut. The Astros optioned INF A.J. Reed to Fresno after Friday’s game.
Blue Jays: RHP Marcus Stroman (10-5) will look for his third straight win when he takes the mound in the series finale Sunday. Stroman allowed four runs in seven innings in his last start and hasn’t lost since July 3.
Astros: RHP Mike Fiers (7-6) will try to end a two-game losing streak Sunday. Fiers was tagged for six runs in 6 1/3 innings in his last outing Tuesday against Tampa Bay.