Apr 19, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Luis Garcia (77) walks to the bullpen to warm up prior to the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Garcia’s gem leads Astros to 8-1 series finale win over Blue Jays
Luis Garcia earned his first win of the season, and the Astros bats broke out late as they took the rubber the game of their three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays, earning an 8-1 win on Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park. All eight Astros runs scored with two outs, including a six-run rally that blew the game open in the eighth inning after the Blue Jays left the bases loaded.
Luis Garcia turns in a gem
Luis Garcia struggled to a 7.71 ERA through his first three starts of the 2023 season, but he turned his fortunes around on Wednesday. In earning his first win of the season, Garcia kept the potent Blue Jays lineup off the scoreboard for seven innings, allowing just two hits, while matching a career-high with nine strikeouts.
The last time he faced the Blue Jays, Garcia allowed a pair of homers to George Springer, but he froze the 2017 World Series MVP with a 2-2 fastball as he struck out six of the first seven Jays he faced. Garcia worked around a one-out walk in the second inning and a two-out double in the fourth. The only other base runner he allowed was a one-out single to Whit Merrifield in the fifth, but he was promptly erased trying to steal second base.
After needing 91 pitches to get through five innings in his last start, Garcia breezed through seven frames on Wednesday on just 92 pitches, 65 for strikes, and he generated 23 swinging strikes, 19 on his cutter alone.
Jake Meyers provides the offense
Meyers is going to get the bulk of the playing time in center field while Chas McCormick is on the IL, and in the series against the Blue Jays, he gave the Astros’ offense a nice boost. Meyers hit a three-run homer in the Astros series-opening win on Monday, and he capped a two-out rally in the second, following a hit batter and a walk with a two-run double off the Astros bullpen in right-center that left the bat at 107.2 MPH. Meyers entered the series without an RBI or an extra-base hit and left it with five RBIs and two extra-base hits.
Bryan Abreu cleans up Rafael Montero’s mess
Montero took over for Garcia in the eighth inning with the bottom of the Blue Jays order due up but immediately ran into trouble. Alejandro Kirk singled, and pinch runner Santiago Espinal scored on Whit Merrfield’s RBI double down the left field line. Montero then walked the next two hitters to load the bases, forcing Dusty Baker to turn to Abreu to face the very dangerous top of the Blue Jays’ order.
Abreu came through just like he has since the 2022 All-Star break. His outing started by getting George Springer to lineout, and then he struck out Bo Bichette, leaving the inning up to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Abreu fell behind 2-0 after missing with back-to-back sliders, but then he worked the count even with his fastball. The two battled for five more pitches, with Abreu getting the better of the Blue Jays All-Star by getting him to fly out to center field.
The Astros blew the game open by rallying for six runs with two out in the bottom of the inning.
News and Notes:
•All eight Astros runs scored in innings where they had nobody on with two outs.
•Mauricio Dubón’s eighth-inning single extended his hitting streak to 14 games, the longest of his career.
•George Springer went hitless in 11 at-bats in his return to Minute Maid Park.
•Jose Abreu went 5-for-12 with 4 RBIs in the series.
The Astros will begin a six-game road trip when they visit the Atlanta Braves on Friday night with Hunter Brown (2-0) on the mound, opposite Bryce Elder (2-0).