Jul 31, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Nolan Reimold (14) is congratulated by third base coach Luis Rivera (2) after hitting a home run during the fifth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

How The Rivals Did: Nolan Reimold's 2 HRs Lift Blue Jays

Most of the focus was on the trade deadline on Thursday, and AL East teams did make a series of interesting trades. There were also two games, however, and both went right down to the wire.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 1, Baltimore Orioles 0 (13 innings)

The Orioles got a huge break in this game as Tyler Skaggs was no-hitting them through 4.2 innings with 7 strikeouts but had to leave the game with a forearm strain. In a game that went 13 innings, the fact that the Angels had to go to their bullpen so early should have been decisive. Instead, seven Angels pitchers combined to hold the O’s to just 5 hits in 13 innings while striking out 16, and Albert Pujols‘ RBI single in the 13th finally got them the run they needed. He did not factor in the scoring, but David Freese nearly notched as many hits as the Orioles, going 4 for 5.

In the loss for Baltimore, Bud Norris had a tremendous outing, going 7 innings allowing no runs on 8 hits, striking out 4 while walking 1. Norris has been about as good as the Orioles’ possibly could have thought this year, going 8-7 with a 3.69 ERA. Brad Brach and Tommy Hunter followed with 2 shutout innings each, allowed just 1 hit combined while striking out 5, but Ryan Webb finally was the one to wilt in the 13th after a scoreless 12th inning. Surprisingly, catcher Caleb Joseph, who entered the game hitting just .192 and was pinch-ran for in the 9th, notched the most hits of any Oriole, going 2 for 3.

Toronto Blue Jays 6, Houston Astros 5

With the Orioles loss, the Jays had an opportunity to pull closer in the division, and with the help of a former Oriole, that’s exactly what they did. The Astros knocked Drew Hutchison out after just 3 innings and led 4-2 after the 4th, but then the Blue Jays went to work coming back. Reimold drilled a homer in the 5th inning before Dioner Navarro went deep in the 6th, and after a Jose Bautista sac fly in the 8th, Reimold gave Toronto the lead with his second homer of the game in the 9th. Reimold had not homered in the major leagues since July 10th of last season, but he picked the perfect game to break out. Aaron Sanchez earned his second major league win in the game for the Blue Jays, striking out 1 and forcing 4 groundouts in 2 perfect innings.

Nolan Reimold‘s heroics allowed the Blue Jays to gain a game on the Orioles, but Albert Pujols’ efforts ensured that everyone else moved up a half-game. Things are getting tighter as we look at the updated standings and the schedule of games for Friday.

1. Baltimore Orioles (60-47) –
2. Toronto Blue Jays (60-50) 1.5
3. New York Yankees (55-52) 5.0
4. Tampa Bay Rays (53-55) 7.5
5. Boston Red Sox (48-60) 12.5

7:05 PM: Baltimore Orioles (Wei-Yin Chen) vs. Seattle Mariners (Roenis Elias)
7:10 PM: Boston Red Sox (Anthony Ranaudo) vs. New York Yankees (Chris Capuano)
7:10 PM: Tampa Bay Rays (Jeremy Hellickson) vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Matt Shoemaker)
8:10 PM: Toronto Blue Jays (J.A. Happ) @ Houston Astros (Collin McHugh)

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