July 17th, 2024

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

By John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press on July 3, 2024.

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

TORONTO – Yordan Alvarez had a solo home run and two RBI doubles as the Houston Astros rolled past the Toronto Blue Jays 9-2 on Wednesday.

Yainer Diaz had three runs batted in on a 3 for 4 night at the plate as Houston (44-42) scored a total of seven runs in the seventh and eighth innings. 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.

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

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 named to the starting lineup of the American League’s all-star team.

Starter Yusei Kikuchi allowed two runs on five hits and two walks, striking out five, over 5 2/3 innings. Zach Pop of Brampton, Ont., Jose Cuas, Brendon Little, and Bowden Francis came out of the bullpen for Toronto, with Pop taking the loss after he gave up three runs.

George Springer led off the first 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.

Kikuchi hummed through the first two innings, striking out four. He ran into trouble in the third, however, giving up a leadoff single to Chas McCormick then walking Alex Bregman.

Alvarez drove a double to deep left field to score 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.

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.

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.

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