Blue Jays get back on track with 5-1 win over the Astros
Photo credit:© Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
By Evan Stack3 months ago
A lot of news throughout Toronto today was about Alek Manoah, whose 0.1-inning performance put some pressure on Kevin Gausman to go deep into the game tonight. Toronto used six relievers last night, but they only had to use two tonight because Gausman threw seven masterful innings. His dominance and three home runs from the offense powered Toronto to a 5-1 win, and an evened series.
Blue Jays Nation’s Player of the Game: Kevin Gausman
We’re starting to run out of words to describe some of the performances that Gausman has had this season. Tonight’s start had multiple storylines attached to it: the need for a long outing, a big game against a team they’re chasing in the standings, and Gausman’s last start against Houston was his worst of the season.
The 110-million dollar man delivered with seven dominant innings, allowing four hits, one run, zero walks, and thirteen strikeouts. That’s a tie for his career-high in strikeouts and it’s the sixth time he has had double-digit strikeouts in a start this year. The lone run he allowed on the night was from the first batter of the game, Mauricio Dubon. Dubon lined a solo home run to left field, but Gausman responded nicely by striking out the next three batters to end the frame.
The 13 strikeouts tonight tie Gausman with Spencer Strider for the MLB lead, and he’s now tied for second in the league in quality starts. Gausman generated 17 whiffs from Astros hitters, with the majority of them coming from his splitter. He also sprinkled in his slider some of which he throws less than 10% of the time.
Things worth mentioning
With Toronto trailing 1-0 early, George Springer got the Jays on the board in the 3rd inning against his former team with a two-run home run. Since he, joined the Blue Jays, Springer has four home runs and five RBIs in 10 games against the Astros.
Daulton Varsho made a huge impact tonight as he continues to show signs of legitimate improvement. He did hit a solo home run tonight, but one thing that stood out to some (and definitely Buck Martinez) was his hustle. He hustled out of a double play in the second inning, and the home run he hit was not a definite homer, so he made sure to hustle into third for a triple in case the umpires called the ball live. Varsho currently owns a 10-game hitting streak, and he is batting .290 through those games.
Bo Bichette hit his 13th home run of the season in the 8th inning, and Whit Merrifield hit an RBI double in the same frame to provide insurance. Bichette and Varsho sit 1-2 amongst the team’s home run leaders.
Bullpen-wise, things went about as ideally as possible. Erik Swanson pitched a clean 8th inning, and the aforementioned insurance runs kept Jordan Romano out of the game. Trevor Richards pitched a scoreless 9th, and the Jays got back in the win column.
What’s next: Toronto will look to take control of this series tomorrow evening with Chris Bassitt on the mound. Bassitt is coming off a 7.2-inning performance against the Mets in which he did not allow a run. Ronel Blanco is the scheduled starter for Houston; he’s been a bullpen guy most of the year but has been summoned to the rotation due to injuries.
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