Alvarez's three RBIs lead Astros past Jays 9-2; Guerrero's hit streak reaches nine | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Alvarez's three RBIs lead Astros past Jays 9-2; Guerrero's hit streak reaches nine

Houston Astros' Yordan Alvarez (44) hits a solo home run against the Toronto Blue Jays during sixth inning MLB baseball action in Toronto on Wednesday, July 3, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jon Blacker
Original Publication Date July 03, 2024 - 7:11 PM

TORONTO - It's a hard time to be a Toronto Blue Jay.

Yordan Alvarez had a solo home run and two RBI doubles as the Houston Astros rolled past Toronto 9-2 on Wednesday for the Blue Jays' 11th loss in 15 games as Major League Baseball's trade deadline on July 30 looms.

Starter Yusei Kikuchi allowed two runs, striking out five, over 5 2/3 innings to earn a no decision as Toronto's bullpen gave up seven runs between the seventh and eighth innings.

"A difficult time for all of us, not just the position players but myself included," said Kikuchi through translator Yusuke Oshima. "Going out there with mixed feelings.

"Just don't know what's going to happen (ahead of the trade deadline). It's just a difficult time right now."

Zach Pop of Brampton, Ont., Jose Cuas, Brendon Little, and Bowden Francis came out of Toronto's bullpen, with Pop taking the loss after he gave up three runs.

Bo Bichette had a sacrifice fly and Daulton Varsho added an RBI single as the Blue Jays (39-47) kept pace through six innings.

"We came in with the mentality that we're aiming to get to and win the World Series," said Kikuchi. "It's tough, just thinking about that.

"But all we can do is prepare and just be ready every game that we're out there."

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. extended his hit streak to nine games with a single in the first inning, less than an hour after the Blue Jays first baseman was voted into the starting lineup of the American League's all-star team.

Yainer Diaz had three runs batted in on a 3 for 4 night at the plate as Houston (44-42). Jose Altuve had the go-ahead RBI single and Jake Meyers drove in another run with a fielder's choice.

Starter Ronel Blanco gave up two runs on four hits and two walks. He struck out four over 5 2/3 innings of work.

Tayler Scott, Bryan Abreu, Bryan King and Rafael Montero came out of the bullpen for Houston, with Scott picking up the win.

George Springer led off the first for Toronto with a walk and he advanced to third on Guerrero's single. Bichette then hit a sacrifice fly to deep centre field, pushing Meyers to the warning track, allowing Springer to sprint home.

"You gotta really try to take advantage of mistakes," said Blue Jays manager John Schneider. "(Blanco) didn't make many. He was good tonight."

Alvarez drove a double to deep left field to score Chas McCormick and tie the game 1-1, then Diaz drew a two-out walk to load the bases. Kikuchi induced a Meyers popfly to escape the inning without more damage being done.

The Astros slugger struck again in the sixth, connecting on the first pitch he saw in the inning. Alvarez launched a 95.1 m.p.h. four-seam fastball 395 feet to deep right field. His 19th home run of the season gave Houston a 2-1 lead.

Varsho tied it back up for Toronto in the sixth with his single to right field scoring Bichette from second. Varsho tripped running to second and then was put out as he scrambled back to first, but Bichette's run still counted.

A seventh-inning Astros rally put the game out of reach.

Altuve — who was roundly booed by the 28,570 at Rogers Centre every time he came to the plate for his role in Houston's sign-stealing scandal — singled to deep right to score McCormick from third and move pinch-hitter Jon Singleton to third with no outs.

Alex Bregman lined out and Alvarez was intentionally walked to load the bases. Diaz took full advantage with a single to right that plated Singleton and Altuve.

Cuas then hit Meyers and Pena with pitches to once again reload the bases, with the second plunk pushing Alvarez across the plate for a 6-2 Houston lead.

"Trying to get a ground ball with a sinker in and didn't locate it," said Schneider. "That was a weird couple of pitches there."

The Astros piled on more runs in the eighth, with Alvarez driving home Singleton with another RBI double, Diaz following that up with a single to score Bregman, and finally Meyers hitting into a fielder's choice to bring home Alvarez.

ON DECK — Chris Bassitt (7-6) gets the start in Thursday's matinee as Toronto finishes its four-game series with Houston.

The Astros will counter with Framber Valdez (6-5).

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 3, 2024.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2024
The Canadian Press

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