Thursday, July 6, 2017

{allcanada} Big inning helps Blue Jays down Astros for third straight win


TORONTO — Russell Martin had three hits, including a solo home run, as the Toronto Blue Jays used a five-run fifth inning to defeat the MLB-best Houston Astros 7-4 on Thursday night.

Martin led off the sixth inning with a shot to right field — his second long ball in as many days — for his ninth homer of the season.

Kendrys Morales added an RBI double and scored twice for the Blue Jays (40-45), who won their third straight. The win also ended Toronto's five-game losing streak at home in its last series before the all-star break.

Francisco Liriano threw six-plus innings while allowing three runs on nine hits and striking out four on a warm summer evening at Rogers Centre. Roberto Osuna pitched the ninth and picked up his 22nd save of the season in his third straight day of work. It was Osuna's 21st consecutive save and tied Billy Koch for the fourth longest save streak in franchise history.

Lance McCullers Jr., a 2017 all-star, took the loss after giving up six runs — five earned — on nine hits and walking two over 4 1/3 innings for the Astros (58-28), who had a four-game winning streak snapped.

Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman each had three hits for the Astros, with Altuve adding two RBIs.

Josh Donaldson gave the Blue Jays their first lead of the game in the fifth with a two-run single to right field. It snapped an 0 for 15 drought at the plate for the 2015 American League MVP. Morales extended the lead to 4-2 shortly after with an RBI double to right-centre field that scored Donaldson.

Troy Tulowitzki then ended an 0 for 22 skid with runners in scoring position after an RBI single drove in Morales. The run chased McCullers Jr. from the game. Ryan Goins added another run before the inning was over with a double to score Tulowitzki.

Altuve drove in Alex Bregman with a single in the fifth to give the Astros a 2-1 lead.

Marwin Gonzalez opened the scoring in the second inning with a solo shot to left field for his 15th home run of the season. Gonzalez was later ejected in the sixth innings after striking out.

Carlos Beltran hit a solo home run to right-centre field to lead off the eighth and cut the deficit to 7-4.

Houston's Carlos Correa, who missed Wednesday's game against Atlanta with left thumb discomfort, extended his hit streak to 14 games with a single in the first inning.

Notes: Attendance was was 40,949. ... The Blue Jays signed 16-year-old Brazilian Eric Pardinho to a minor league contract before the game. ... Olympic snowboarder Mark McMorris of Regina threw out the first pitch. ... Aaron Sanchez (0-1, 3.33 ERA) returns from the disabled list to start for Toronto on Friday night. Charlie Morton (5-3, 4.06 ERA) counters for the Astros.

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