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|08-14-2016, 05:21 PM||#1|
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Altuve's on-base streak ends, Astros lose 9-2 to Blue Jays
For the first time since late April, Astros infielder Jose Altuve failed to reach base in a road game.
Troy Tulowitzki and Russell Martin hit back-to-back home runs, Marcus Stroman pitched 6 1/3 innings to win for the first time in four starts and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Houston 9-2 on Sunday.
Carlos Correa had three singles, extending his hitting streak to 10 games, and Jason Castro hit a solo home run for the Astros, who lost their second straight following a four-game win streak.
Altuve, the American League batting leader, went 0 for 4 and failed to reach safely for the first time in 44 road games. His average dropped to .362.
"We often go the way he goes," manager A.J. Hinch said. "I'm sure everybody in the ballpark is pretty surprised when he doesn't get on base. He puts up good at bats. He did the best he could but every good thing comes to an end."
Altuve's 43-game streak matched Jeff Bagwell (1998) for second-longest in team history. Bagwell also holds the record for longest streak, reaching safely in 51 straight road games in 1999.
Altuve stayed in the game after fouling a pitch off his left foot in the first inning. He hadn't been kept off base in a road game since April 29 at Oakland, when he went 0 for 4, snapping a 19-game on-base streak.
Tulowitzki joined Edwin Encarnacion, Josh Donaldson and Michael Saunders as Blue Jays with 20 or more home runs. Toronto and Baltimore are the only two teams in the majors to boast four hitters with 20 or more homers.
Toronto has 166 home runs this season, second to Baltimore. The Orioles entered play Sunday with 174.
"That's what we do best," manager John Gibbons said.
Encarnacion hit his 33rd home run, a solo blast off Luke Gregerson, as Blue Jays won for the eighth time in 10 meetings with the Astros. Encarnacion and Baltimore's Mark Trumbo are tied for most in the majors.
Containing Toronto's powerful bats proved too much for the Astros, who dropped two of three to the AL East leaders.
"They never let up," Hinch said of the Blue Jays. "Their offense is pretty potent when it gets going."
Toronto (67-51) is a season-best 16 games above .500.
Houston right-hander Mike Fiers (8-6) allowed five runs and seven hits in 4 2-3 innings.
Tulowitzki went 3 for 4 with three RBIs. He hit an RBI single in the first, singled and scored in the fourth, and homered in the fifth, his 20th.
"(Fiers) went with the fastball, it leaked over the plate and Tulo did some damage with it," Hinch said.
Martin followed with a first-pitch blast, the seventh time this season Toronto has hit consecutive home runs.
"First-pitch changeup," Fiers said. "It seemed like he was sitting on it."
Fiers has surrendered five home runs in his past two outings.
"They made me pay in that one inning," Fiers said. "A couple of swings and the game is changed."
Martin also made the defensive play of the game, leaning into Houston's first base dugout to catch Alex Bregman's foul pop up in the seventh.
"For a catcher, that's as good an opportunity you're going to get to make a nice play," Martin said. "It felt good for sure."
Stroman (9-5) allowed two runs, one earned, and five hits to win for the first time since July 20 at Arizona.
Martin and Michael Saunders (20) are the second pair of Canadian teammates to hit 10 or more home runs in a season. The first to do it were Corey Koskie (25) and Justin Morneau (19) for Minnesota in 2004.
Astros: OF Jake Marisnick (right groin) missed his fourth straight game. Marisnick could return Tuesday against St. Louis. Houston is off Monday. ... RHP Ken Giles is expected to come off the paternity list Tuesday.
Astros: LHP Dallas Keuchel (7-11, 4.56) faces Cardinals LHP Jamie Garcia (9-8, 3.93) on Tuesday. Keuchel pitched a three-hitter against Texas on Aug. 5.
Blue Jays: Toronto opens a three-game series in New York against the Yankees on Monday. RHP R.A Dickey (8-12, 4.61) starts against RHP Chad Green (1-2, 4.94). Dickey has a 7.61 ERA in his past five starts.
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