Apr 18, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Jose Urquidy (65) reacts and Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Matt Chapman (26) rounds the bases after hitting a home run during the fourth inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Astros’ late rally falls short in 4-2 loss to Blue Jays
The Astros battled back from a 4-0 deficit to put the tying run on base, but they came up short in a 4-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park. Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker singled home runs in the eighth inning, but Blue Jays manager John Schneider turned to his closer, Jordan Romano, for a four-out save, and he came through by getting Jeremy Peña, who hit a walk-off homer off him last season, to fly out to right, and he worked around a one-out single in the ninth.
Jays use the long ball to jump in front, pad the lead with singles
Jose Urquidy allowed just a walk and a single the first time through the Blue Jays’ order, but he wasn’t quite so fortunate the second go around. With one out in the fourth, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. took a first-pitch fastball from Urquidy and drove it 367 feet over the right field wall for his third homer of the season. Two batters later, Matt Chapman, who homered in Monday’s series opener, smacked a 2-2 fastball to almost the same spot, putting the Blue Jays up 2-0.
The Jays added to their lead in the fifth, and it was the bottom third of the order that started the rally. Brandon Belt led off by working a walk, and then luck started to turn against Urquidy. Whit Merrifield singled through the right side on a ball with an xBA of .260, advancing Belt to third, and Santiago Espinal followed by chopping a ball past Jose Abreu to score Toronto’s third run of the night. His base hit carried an xBA of just .240.
Urquidy recovered to strikeout George Springer, but Bo Bichette’s RBI single knocked him out of the game. He was tagged with his first loss of the season after surrendering four runs on seven hits over 4.1 innings.
Astros can’t solve Chris Bassitt
The Astros were quite familiar with the Blue Jays starters from his days in Oakland, and they had been successful against him, especially at Minute Maid Park, where he entered Tuesday’s game with an 8.35 ERA in four previous starts, but they couldn’t carry that over into this game. Bassitt retired the first 11 Astros he faced before walking Yordan Alvarez in the fourth inning. Abreu followed with a single, but Kyle Tucker grounded out to end the inning.
Bassitt retired the Astros in order in the fifth and worked around Alex Bregman’s one-out double in the sixth, but they knocked him out in the seventh with the aid of a bloop single and an error, but former Astro Yimi Garcia struck out Corey Julks and induced a ground out from Jake Meyers to strand the runners.
The Blue Jays right-hander allowed three hits and a walk over 6.1 shutout innings, lowering his ERA from 7.63 to 5.40.
Astros bullpen keeps them in the game
The Astros had a chance to win the game in the late innings thanks to the bullpen which held the Blue Jays off the board after Urquidy’s exit. Bryan Abreu struck out a pair in 1.2 innings while stranding the two runners he inherited from Urquidy, and then Hector Neris, Rafael Montero, and Ryan Pressly combined for three hitless innings.
News and Notes:
•Mauricio Dubón’s eighth-inning infield single extended his hitting streak to 13 games, the longest of his career.
•The Astros have only won back-to-back games twice this season.
•The Astros placed Chas McCormick on the 10-day IL due to low back soreness. The vision issues that forced him out of Friday’s game have cleared up, but his back tightened up during a workout on Sunday. Rylan Bannon was recalled from Triple-A Sugar Land to replace him on the 26-man roster.
•Astros general manager Dana Brown said Tuesday that Michael Brantley could begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Sugar Land as early as Sunday.
The Astros and Blue Jays will finish their three-game series on Wednesday night with Luis Garcia (0-2) taking the mound opposite Jose Berrios (1-2).