The visiting Houston Astros have a chance to clinch their three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays with a victory on Saturday afternoon at Buffalo.
Houston defeated the Blue Jays 13-1 Friday night in the series opener with Zack Greinke pitching his 17th career complete game. Martin Maldonado hit his second career grand slam and had an RBI single for a career-best five RBIs and Carlos Correa had two homers and four RBIs.
The Astros took two of three from Toronto May 7-9 at Houston and have not lost the season series between the teams since 2016.
The Astros are 5-1 in their past six games after losing six of seven. The Blue Jays are 6-3 after losing six straight.
Toronto had hoped for a better result with their No. 1 starter, Hyun Jin Ryu, on the mound. But the Astros reached the left-hander for seven runs (six earned), and seven hits.
“Ryu was one pitch away from getting out of the trouble that he was in,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “He gave up a lot of seeing-eye base hits and again, he was one pitch away, but Maldonado got him with whatever you want to call that — a fly ball, the wind took it. It’s still a grand slam, but he was one pitch away from keeping us in the game.”
The Blue Jays are 2-1 at Sahlen Field, home of their Triple-A team, after playing their first 21 home games (10-11) at their spring-training park at Dunedin, Fla.
The Blue Jays have found the crowds in Buffalo supportive and feel that gives them more of a home-field advantage than they had in Florida.
But the Astros, hearing boos, took advantage of Ryu’s hanging changeups and cutters.
“I don’t think it had anything to do with the stadium,” Ryu said through an interpreter. “It was just me. I just had some problems with myself today. But overall, the atmosphere and everything was really good.”
The Blue Jays will start right-hander Ross Stripling (1-3, 5.11 ERA) Saturday against Astros right-hander Jose Urquidy (4-2, 3.02).
Stripling took the loss at Houston on May 7, allowing three earned runs and six hits in 3 2/3 innings. He is 0-1 with a 7.36 ERA in one career regular-season start against the Astros.
Urquidy allowed two runs on four hits in seven innings to earn the win on May 7 in his first appearance against the Blue Jays.
Urquidy held the Boston Red Sox to one run and three hits in six innings Monday after an 18-day stint on the injured list (shoulder).
The Astros did their damage Friday night with third baseman Alex Bregman being given what manager Dusty Baker termed a “mental day.”
Bregman is struggling at .244/.381/.337 with one homer in his past 22 games. He had a 20-game on-base streak end on Thursday, but he had nearly as many walks (19) as hits (21) in that span.
“I’m swinging it terrible, no doubt about it,” Bregman said. “High on-base percentage, but not driving the ball like I should be. It’s mechanical. It’s been a mechanical adjustment that I’ve needed to make for two years. The last two years, I haven’t been using my hands the way I want to use my hands.”
–Field Level Media