Alvarez punishes poor Blue Jays
Yordan Alvarez produced a three-hit night, including a two-run home run in the fourth, and Robinson Chirinos drove in six runs to catalyze Houston’s 15-2 humiliation of the Blue Jays at Minute Maid Park.
Alvarez is the first player in Astros history to hit a home run in three of his first four games. Only 20 players in big league history have ever accomplished the feat.
Each of Alvarez’ three hits exited his bat harder than 108 mph. He pulled a single into right field off Aaron Sanchez’s down and away four-seam fastball in the first. Reliever Derek Law offered a similar pitch in the sixth. Alvarez sprayed into the opposite field, splitting the left center field gap with such a smooth stroke.
Sandwiched between the two singles was a two-run shot in the fourth inning that fit this Friday night battering of the Blue Jays. Sam Gaviglio served a 2-0 slider that sat up and away. Alvarez smacked it the other way.
It landed 425 feet away, bouncing below the train tracks that run along left field to up Houston’s lead to 10.
The Astros tattooed four home runs against a terrible Toronto team, one that carries little allure aside from two offspring of once-revered players. And neither Vladimir Guerrero Jr. nor Cavan Biggio are yet able to duplicate their dads.
The Blue Jays entered with the American League’s lowest batting average. Among American League teams, only the Detroit Tigers scored fewer runs. Their .672 team OPS was third from last among major league clubs.
Predictably, Gerrit Cole conducted a clinic at their expense. The Astros starter struck out 10 across six innings of two-run baseball. Toronto touched him for three hits while whiffing 16 times.
Cole concluded all but four punchouts on his four-seam fastball, one which reached 99.7 mph during the first inning. The first was the only frame in which Cole pitched without a lead.
Meanwhile, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. got hit in the hand by a 96 MPH fastball in the first inning. He stayed in the game to run the bases but came out for the bottom half of the inning. However, the X-rays say there was no break, just a contusion. The Blue Jays will hope that diagnosis doesn’t change. Derek Law hit Yuli Gurriel later in the game.
In the third inning, Josh Reddick tried to steal second on strike 3 to Tyler White. Luke Maile’s throw was late and he was called safe but second baseman Cavan Biggio wanted the dugout to review. A look at the replay showed that Reddick can’t off the bag and Cavan kept the tag on. But Montoyo didn’t challenge. The decision looked worse when the next batter, Tony Kemp, hit a home run. They could have been out of the inning. They have to fix their challenge process.
It was another devastating loss for the Blue Jays, and they will be facing off against the Astros again on Saturday and Sunday.