Sanchez Shines: Young right-hander in form as Blue Jays top Astros 6-2

TORONTO — Jose Bautista and Jose Reyes hit two-run homers and Toronto starter Aaron Sanchez threw into the ninth inning as the Blue Jays defeated the Houston Astros 6-2 on Friday night at Rogers Centre.

The Blue Jays (26-30) scored five times in the third inning off Houston starter Roberto Hernandez. That was more than enough support for Sanchez, who allowed six hits and one earned run.  

Jason Castro hit a solo shot in the ninth inning for the Astros, who scored two runs in the frame. Reliever Roberto Osuna struck out the side in the ninth as the Blue Jays extended their winning streak to three games. 

Houston (34-22) entered play with the best record in the American League and had won its last seven meetings against Toronto. The Blue Jays have won four of their last five home games.  

Chris Colabello extended his career-high hitting streak to 15 games in the second inning with a one-out double off Hernandez (2-5). Canadian Russell Martin walked but Justin Smoak hit into an inning-ending double play.

Kevin Pillar reached on an infield single in the third and scored when Reyes hit his first homer of the season. Josh Donaldson followed with a single and came around on Bautista’s rainbow blast that landed in the second deck just inside the left-field pole.

It was Bautista’s ninth homer of the year. The Blue Jays tacked on another run when Edwin Encarnacion doubled and scored on a Colabello single.

Sanchez (5-4) retired the first nine Astros in order before giving up an infield single to leadoff man George Springer in the fourth inning. The young right-hander got Jose Altuve to hit into a double play on the next pitch and then got Preston Tucker on a groundout.

In the fifth, Sanchez gave up a one-out single to former Blue Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus before Luis Valbuena hit into a double play.  

Hernandez was pulled after giving up a run with two outs in the sixth inning. He was replaced by Joe Thatcher, who needed one pitch to get Ryan Goins to ground out.

Hernandez allowed nine hits, five earned runs and two walks while striking out one.

Sanchez, who had three strikeouts and didn’t walk a batter, was pulled after giving up back-to-back singles in the ninth. The Astros scored their second run after a Martin throwing error.

Announced attendance was 22,971 and the game took two hours 35 minutes to play.

Notes: It was Castro’s sixth home run of the season. … Colabello’s hitting streak is the longest active streak in the major leagues. … Toronto right-hander Drew Hutchison (4-1, 5.26 earned-run average) is scheduled to start on Saturday against left-hander Brett Oberholtzer (0-0, 3.24). … Before the game, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said trade talks have picked up of late and he expects discussions to ramp up even more after next week’s draft. He also confirmed the team is interested in veteran free-agent reliever Rafael Soriano. … Heavy rain fell outside the stadium in the late afternoon but the sun came out in the early evening. The retractable roof was opened shortly before the 7:07 p.m. ET first pitch.

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Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press