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After 5 1st-inning runs, Toronto falls on walk-off

Tepera gives up game-winning homer to red-hot Bregman
MLB.com @alysonfooter

HOUSTON -- Ryan Tepera, a product of Sam Houston State and a native Houstonian, was greeted by plenty of familiar faces during his time in Houston this weekend as a member of the Blue Jays' pitching staff. Parents. Family members. Friends.

And Alex Bregman.

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HOUSTON -- Ryan Tepera, a product of Sam Houston State and a native Houstonian, was greeted by plenty of familiar faces during his time in Houston this weekend as a member of the Blue Jays' pitching staff. Parents. Family members. Friends.

And Alex Bregman.

View Full Game Coverage

Bregman, Tepera's workout partner in the offseason, got the best of his friend in the ninth inning on Wednesday afternoon, launching a high 0-2 fastball into Minute Maid Park's left-field Crawford Boxes to lift the Astros to a 7-6 walk-off win over the Blue Jays.

Video: TOR@HOU: Bregman launches a walk-off 2-run home run

The homer marked Bregman's second walk-off hit of the Houston's homestand and his third of the season. But it was presumably the first one he hit off of a personal friend.

"I know him well," Tepera said. "I'm sure I'll hear about that one in the offseason. He's obviously a good player. He got hot during our series. It hurts."

Tony Kemp, the Astros' No. 9 hitter, led off the ninth with a base hit to right. George Springer flew out to left, bringing the red-hot Bregman to the plate. Bregman swung and missed at Tepera's first two offerings, both 95-mph four-seamers, before connecting on the game-winner and handing Blue Jays to their fourth loss of their seven-game road trip.

"I think the problem was it caught a little too much middle of the plate," Tepera said of his final pitch. "It was still up. They've got a dangerous lineup. They can hurt you at any time. That's what [Bregman] did. He kind of shortened up there with two strikes. I blew the first two by him, and I think he was swinging a little bit harder there."

"Tepera's got really good stuff," Bregman said. "He's got a super sinker, four-seamer, cutter, curveball. But to be honest with you, that was the first guy that I've swung and missed on two straight fastballs this year besides [Yankees ace Luis] Severino. So that kind of ticked me off."

The loss negated the Toronto's encouraging offensive attack that put it ahead 5-0 in the first, after they taking advantage of Houston starter Dallas Keuchel's ongoing problems with recording outs in the opening frame.

The first four Blue Jays either doubled or walked, beginning with Randal Grichuk's leadoff double to left. Keuchel yielded four hits and two walks before he recorded the final out of the inning, a ground ball from the No. 9 hitter, Devon Travis.

Video: TOR@HOU: Diaz sends an RBI single up the middle

But Houston chipped away at the deficit immediately, scoring three runs off Marco Estrada in the bottom of the inning. Springer was awarded first base on a catcher's interference, and Evan Gattis delivered the biggest blow with a two-run double.

"It could have gone the other way. I could have been out of there quick," Estrada said. "Unfortunately, that catcher's interference costs an out. It's my job to pick them up and get the next few guys out. I made some bad pitches, and they got hit along the way. It shouldn't have happened."

The Blue Jays scored what at the time looked like an insurance run in the sixth, plating a run when Jose Altuve mishandled a ground ball by Travis with the bases loaded.

Video: TOR@HOU: Pillar comes home on an error in the 6th

Marwin Gonzalez homered off Tyler Clippard in the eighth, bringing the Astros within a run heading into the fateful ninth.

John Gibbons, managing his 1,500th career game, said it was the "low point" of the season.

"You got 'em right there," he said. "Those are the teams you want to beat. I think what magnifies that is anytime you get to a 5-0 lead, that's what gets you."

Gibbons also said the game typified a frustrating year that has produced more struggles than winning streaks.

"That game right there sums up our year to this point, to be honest with you," he said. "Five runs in that first inning ... when you have good innings, you have to get a shutdown inning or close to it. We didn't do that."

SOUND SMART
Gibbons has managed the second-most games in Blue Jays history. His 1,500 sit behind only Cito Gaston, who managed 1,764 games. Gibbons is 87th all-time in games managed.

HE SAID IT
"They're a tough lineup to face, but you know the old argument that anybody can close. It's not quite that easy. I don't know how many hits Bregman had this series. He had too many." -- Gibbons

UP NEXT
Right-hander Marcus Stroman (0-5, 6.80 ERA) will open a four-game set with the Tigers in Toronto on Friday at 7:07 p.m. ET. Stroman will try for his first win of the season in just his second game since returning from the DL with right shoulder fatigue. He pitched five shutout innings against the Angels in his most recent start on June 23.

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.

Toronto Blue Jays