Houston, TX– Luis Valbuena got the scoring started early for the Houston Astros (25-13) against Mark Buehrle with his 10th blast of the season into the Crawford Boxes in left field.
After getting the lead-off hitter aboard in the first two innings without any luck, Toronto (17-22) was able to make Steve Tolleson‘s 3rd inning lead-off double count as he was moved over by Ezequiel Carrera on a SAC bunt and he later scored on a SAC fly from Jose Bautista to tie the game at 1. The Blue Jays had the lead-off hitter reach base in each of the first 4 innings but only managed 2 runs. Astros’ Manager A.J. Hinch spoke about his starter after the game, “He was under duress every inning. The lead-off hitter reached second base in each of the first four innings, and that isn’t easy. Especially getting out of it a couple of times. A couple of times they scored, but they never really got to him.”
Collin McHugh was able to work out of danger for much of the game as he was able to strand runners in each of the first 3 innings before allowing two runs in the fourth. In his seven innings, McHugh gave up two runs on six hits while striking out 9. This is the second 4 game sweep of a team for Houston through their first 13 series’ of the season.
In the bottom of the fourth, with a 2-1 lead, Mark Buerhle went out to the mound to face the middle of the Houston Astros lineup. George Springer led off the inning with a walk, and Colby Rasmus followed suit after Evan Gattis flied to left. After a Chris Carter strikeout, Jonathan Villar lit up Minute Maid Park with a game tying double off the wall in left field to score Springer.
In the seventh, the Astros got it going again with another double by Villar. This time, it was a lead-off double. With one out and Villar at third, Jake Marisnick came up with a SAC fly to center-field to add to the lead. Villar’s run would be the final run of the game. Hinch was asked about Villar’s production after the game and the manager applauded him for being ready to go when his number was called, “That’s a bench player who’s playing time comes and goes, but he’s starting to catch his rhythm, certainly right handed, and contributes.”
With the loss, Mark Buehrle falls to 5-3 on the season. On Saturday, he went 8 innings (CG) and gave up four runs on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Luke Gregerson got the save for Houston, his 10th of the year.
Next for the Astros, the Oakland Athletics will come to town in an AL West bout. Astros will send rookie, Lance McCullers to the mound for his first ever Major League start on Monday night at 7:10.