Joe Musgrove Comes Back to Haunt Blue Jays as Houston Astros Post 5-3 Victory
Back when the Toronto Blue Jays drafted Joe Musgrove in the first round of the supplemental draft in 2011, they hoped that one day the big right-hander would make an impact.
Five years later, Musgrove is doing just that, only against the Jays on behalf of the Houston Astros.
Musgrove picked up his first major-league win on Friday night, frustrating the Jays with a strong seven-inning performance.
The 23-year-old scattered six hits, walked two and struck out seven as the Astros registered a 5-3 victory against the Blue Jays on a muggy night at the Rogers Centre.
While Musgrove (1-0) was tough on the Jays hitters, the same could not be said of Toronto starter Francisco Liriano (6-12) and his impact on the Astros.
Before 46,330 fans, Liriano’s first home game as a Jay and second start in a Toronto jersey was forgettable. He pitched 5.2 innings and allowed eight hits (including a home run and four doubles), was touched for five earned runs and walked two. Liriano, acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Aug. 1, struck out four.
Among the few positives on the night for the Jays was the home run hit by Edwin Encarnacion, off Will Harris, to lead off the ninth.
It was the 300th home run of Encarnacion’s career and 32nd this season. He became the 11th player born in the Domincan Republic to hit 300
homers in the major leagues. “Thank God for 300. I never thought I was going to get there, but I am really glad and really happy. I’m really proud
to be on that list.”
The Jays had a half-game lead atop the American League East Division heading into games on Friday. The Baltimore Orioles, nipping at the Jays’ heels from second place, played late Friday in San Francisco against the Giants.
Musgrove, who was traded to Houston in July 2012 in a deal that sent J.A. Happ to Toronto, had given the present-day Jays a taste of his talents on Aug. 2 when he allowed just one hit and one walk against them, while striking out eight, in 4.1 innings of relief.
“He was locating everything really good, has a good little breaking ball, looks like he has it all,” Jays manager John Gibbons said of Musgrove before the game. “He has a good arm and he is a strike thrower.”
The Astros loaded the bases in the third inning and before long had a 2-0 lead.
Teoscar Hernandez, in his major-league debut, led off with a walk. Liriano issued a one-walk to George Springer, and Alex Bregman singled to give Houston three baserunners.
The best hitter in the majors, Jose Altuve, then lined out to Josh Donaldson, who made a terrific leap to his backhand to rob Altuve, hitting .365 going into the game, from extra bases.
With two out, Carlos Correa hit a hard single up the middle to score Hernandez and Springer.
Liriano then got Marwin Gonzalez to line out.
The Jays clawed back with a run in each of the third and fourth innings tie the game 2-2.
In the fourth, Toronto drew even when leadoff batter Michael Saunders cranked his 20th home run of the season, setting a personal career-high. Saunders had hit 19 with the Seattle Mariners in 2012.
The Jays tied it in the third after Darrell Ceciliani led off with a double, went to third on a Devon Travis single and scored when Donaldson grounded into a double-play.
Houston regained a two-run lead in the fifth. Springer singled to lead off and the next batter, Bregman, doubled. Altuve, hitless in his previous two at-bats, then doubled home both. Before Correa lined out to right field, Jays catcher Russell Martin threw out Altuve as the latter attempted to steal third base.
The Astros increased their lead to 5-2 in the sixth. Hernandez created a fine memory of his first hit in the big leagues. With two out and the count full, Hernandez homered to left field. Liriano hit Jason Castro, the next Astros batter, and was pulled in favour of Ryan Tepera.
In 1.2 innings of relief, Tepera allowed two hits and walked one.
Brett Cecil pitched two-thirds of the eighth and Scott Feldman hurled the ninth for Toronto.