Jays pound Astros to take series
Marcus Stroman has now won 3 of his last 4 decisions
Marcus Stroman continued his stretch of solid starts on Sunday afternoon, limiting the opposition to one earned run for the third time in five starts as the Blue Jays defeated the Astros 9-2.
Stroman (9-5) allowed two runs, one earned, on five hits while striking out eight. The 25-year-old has won three of his last four decisions after dropping four of his previous six.
"I've been feeling good lately," he said. "It felt like any other day, just got rolling and felt like I had pretty good action on my pitches early. Me and [Russell Martin] were connecting pretty well."
The victory moves the Blue Jays to a season-high 16 games above .500. Toronto (67-51) has now won six of their last 10 series, going 12-for-seven in that stretch. The Astros (61-57) have dropped consecutive games after winning four straight on the road.
Troy Tulowitzki and Martin hit back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning to blow the game open for the Blue Jays, who have now won nine of their last 13 in Toronto.
Back to back! Russell showing that 💪! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OurMoment?src=hash">#OurMoment</a> <a href="https://t.co/uXVYiCZNI0">pic.twitter.com/uXVYiCZNI0</a>—@BlueJays
Tulowitzki put Mike Fiers' fastball into the second deck at Rogers Centre for a two-run home run giving the Blue Jays a 4-1 lead. Martin followed it up by taking Fiers' first pitch yard for his 10th homer of the season — it marks the seventh time this season the Blue Jays have hit back-to-back home runs.
Martin's long ball knocked Fiers (8-6) from the game. The Astros starter went 4 2/3 innings allowing five earned runs on seven hits while striking out seven.
Despite going 7-6 in their previous 13 games the Blue Jays had been out-scored 46-42.
"Hit some homers. Everybody always says, 'Well there's more to it than that', but that's accurate, that's what we do best," said manager John Gibbons of the Blue Jays out-scoring the Astros 16 to nine in the three-game series. "We've got guys that when they're hitting them, the key is to get some guys on base and then pop one here or there."
Martin showed off his defensive game in the seventh, leaning into the Astros dugout to grab an Alex Bregman foul ball for the second out of the inning.
.<a href="https://twitter.com/russellmartin55">@russellmartin55</a> making friends in the road dugout. <a href="https://t.co/WagbNiGcJp">https://t.co/WagbNiGcJp</a> <a href="https://t.co/3SsJFtm2XU">https://t.co/3SsJFtm2XU</a>—@MLB
"You don't get those opportunities very often," Martin said. "It was just nice that it came up in a big situation and kind of sparked the guys after — them hitting the ball hard, kind of weathered the storm a little bit and kind of got us back in the right direction."
Edwin Encarnacion gave the Blue Jays a 6-2 lead, hitting a solo home run off of Luke Gregerson in the seventh. The homer ties Encarnacion with Baltimore's Mark Trumbo for the Major League lead (33).
Toronto put up another three spot in the eighth, increasing its lead to seven. Melvin Upton Jr. delivered an RBI single and later scored while Josh Donaldson was issued a bases loaded walk by Astros reliever James Hoyt.
The Blue Jays got to Fiers early, taking a 1-0 lead on Tulowitzki's RBI single in the first. The veteran shortstop finished the day 3 for 4 with three runs batted in.
Astros shortstop Carlos Correa extended his hit streak to a career-best 10 games with a leadoff single in the second, and later scored on a Stroman throwing error tying the game 1-1.
Jason Castro pulled Houston to within three with a solo home run in the seventh, but that's as close as the visitors would get.
Darrell Ceciliani's RBI double in the fourth gave the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead.