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TOR@CLE: Johnson strikes out six over seven solid

For the first time in more than a month, the Blue Jays have two straight wins.

After losing six in a row, they've set themselves up to take the series against the Astros if they can win one of the next two games.

Josh Johnson will take the mound for Toronto on Saturday and be opposed by lefty Dallas Keuchel of the Astros.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons says the next step for his team is consistency.

"We haven't played good enough in all areas of the game on a consistent day-in-day-out basis," he said. "We've had our stretches, but we really haven't strung anything together for any length of time. I mean, we had that [11-game winning] streak, but everybody has those. Bad teams have streaks. Maybe not 11 games, but everybody has streaks. But we really haven't gone on that roll, that consistent roll. You reel off a number of games, maybe lose a couple, but then you still play steady ball. Ours have kind of been the extreme."

The Blue Jays are 2-6 on their current homestand, but have only won three of their last 12 games.

"We just haven't played good enough," Gibbons said. "We haven't pitched well enough, our defense at times has been a factor, offensively we've been streaky."

Johnson (1-6, 5.66 ERA) has fallen victim to their streakiness, taking four straight losses with just 2.75 runs in support of him.

The Astros may not be winning many games lately, but three of their last five games have been decided by one run, so they're close.

"It speaks to the resilience of that group in there," Astros manager Bo Porter said of the tight games. "These guys, they're made right. They fight to the end. When you come to the park each and every day and that's your mindset, every once in a while good things happen, because you put yourself in position and keep fighting."

Keuchel should help keep this one close, as he's coming off his seventh quality start, Monday against Oakland. He is 4-5 in 20 appearances (13 starts) with a 4.42 ERA, but he has a 3.44 ERA in nine starts since May 31, with 31 strikeouts in his last 29 2/3 innings.

Blue Jays: Trouble at home
Despite winning their last two games, the Blue Jays have lost 10 of their last 14 at Rogers Centre, including six of eight in their current homestand.

After going 5-0-2 in seven series from May 14-June 23 (15-5), the Blue Jays have lost three of their last four series, going 2-10 in that span. It was the first time they'd been swept in back-to-back series at home since April 5-18, 2004.

Astros: Krauss adjusting to bench role
Outfielder Marc Krauss made his 11st start of the season on Friday and hit his second home run, a two-run shot off Toronto starter R.A. Dickey in the second inning, and added a two-run double.

After playing every day with Triple-A Oklahoma City, he's gotten sporadic starts since being called up on June 21.

"It's an adjustment, definitely," Krauss said. "It's the first time I've ever been a bench-type guy. It's a different preparation. Every day you've got to prepare like you're in there, even if you're not. I just always do my early work and make sure my swing feels good, because at a moment's notice you could be put in there, and every few days get to start and you have to take advantage of those days."

Worth noting
• Houston's Chris Carter has 17 walks in his last 22 games and has reached base safely in 27 of his last 30 games.

• Jose Reyes has seven multi-hit games in his last 11 contests. Comments