The second half of the season hasn’t too kind to the Houston Astros, who entered their weekend series against the Toronto Blue Jays having lost five of their previous six games. A number of key offensive cogs have been slowed by injury in recent weeks, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at Friday night’s box score. The Astros exploded for 16 runs, including nine in the fourth inning, and toppled the Jays by a final score of 16-7.
It was the kind of performance the ‘Stros have needed lately, and it came on a night when superstars Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and George Springer were all out of the lineup. (Altuve’s absence was simply a matter of a scheduled day off; Correa and Springer are battling back from injury.)
The entire Houston lineup stepped in to fill those shoes, with each starter collecting at least one base hit. Promising young first baseman Tyler White led the charge with four knocks – including two home runs and a double – and five runs batted in. Josh Reddick and Yuli Gurriel each added three hits of their own. Houston finished with eighteen hits for the night, seven bases on balls, and only one strikeout.
The offensive clinic came at a good time for starting pitcher Brad Peacock, who labored through six uncharacteristically bumpy innings. Peacock yielded all seven Toronto runs, including four in the sixth inning after a pair of two-out home runs. The overworked bullpen held the line, with Joe Musgrove, Reymin Guduan, and James Hoyt all working scoreless frames.
Houston will try to carry some positive momentum into game two tonight. Charlie Morton, who has pitched well since returning from the disabled list last month, faces off against Marco Estrada just after 6:00 Central. The Astros hope to move 32 games over .500 – an especially impressive mark for early in August.
Gattis Hits the DL
The injury bug continues to bite. Catcher Evan Gattis is the most recent victim, falling to the disabled list with a mild concussion after being struck in the mask by an errant backswing. Journeyman minor leaguer Juan Centeno was recalled from AAA to take his place.
Davis To Debut
In another recent roster move, Houston optioned first baseman AJ Reed back to Fresno and selected the contract of fourteenth-ranked prospect J.D. Davis. It’s been a great season for Davis – the corner infielder started the year in AA and has flashed incredibly power at the plate. He’ll be available for action starting tonight.
Houston Crowd Acknowledges Aoki
On July 31, the Astros traded outfielders Nori Aoki and Teoscar Hernandez to Toronto in exchange for left-handed pitcher Francisco Liriano. When Aoki made his return to Houston with his new club, he was greeted by a warm ovation. The Japanese veteran batted .272 for Houston this season and helped stabilize the outfield before the emergence of prospect Derek Fisher.