Tulo and Martin hit back-to-back HRs, Jays beat Astros 9-2
TORONTO (AP) — Troy Tulowitzki is the newest member of Toronto’s 20-homer club.
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 Blue Jays beat the Houston Astros 9-2 on Sunday.
Tulowitski joined Edwin Encarnacion, Josh Donaldson and Michael Saunders as Blue Jays with 20 or more home runs. Toronto and Baltimore are the only teams in the majors to boast four hitters with 20 or more homers.
“That’s what we do best,” manager John Gibbons said.
Toronto has hit 166 home runs this season, second to Baltimore, which has hit 176.
Encarnacion hit his 33rd home run, a solo blast off Luke Gregerson, as the Blue Jays won for the eighth time in 10 meetings with the Astros. Encarnacion is second in homers in the majors, behind Baltimore’s Mark Trumbo, who has 34.
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,” Astros manager A.J. 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.
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.
Martin followed with a first-pitch blast off Mike Fiers. It was the seventh time this season Toronto has hit consecutive home runs.
“First-pitch changeup,” Fiers said. “It seemed like he was sitting on it.”
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.
Carlos Correa had three hits and Jason Castro hit a solo home run for the Astros, who lost their second straight following a four-game win streak.
American League batting leader Jose Altuve went 0-for-4 and failed to reach safely for the first time in 44 road games.
“We often go the way he goes,” Hinch said. “I’m sure everybody in the ballpark is pretty surprised when he doesn’t get on base.”
Astros first baseman Marwin Gonzalez was hit on the left knee by a pitch from Stroman in the second. Gonzalez stayed in to run the bases but was replaced by Tyler White in the bottom of the inning. X-rays were negative and Gonzalez is day to day.
“He didn’t feel like he could move around at full speed so I pulled him,” Hinch said.
In the third, Encarnacion was hit on the left hand by a pitch from Fiers. He remained in the game. He doubled and scored in the fifth, then homered in the seventh.
Fiers (8-6) allowed five runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. The right-hander 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.”
As part of its 40th season celebrations, the Blue Jays honored seven former pitchers in a pre-game ceremony. Dave Stieb and former Cy Young award winners Pat Hentgen and Roy Halladay all threw out ceremonial first pitches.
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.
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.