Cabrera, Bautista homer, Blue Jays beat Astros 5-2
TORONTO (AP) Melky Cabrera spent his winter working out with teammate Jose Bautista. Finally, pain-free after a difficult debut season in Toronto, Cabrera is starting to slug like Bautista, too.
Cabrera homered for the fourth straight game, Bautista also went deep and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Houston 5-2 on Tuesday night, handing the Astros their fifth loss in six games.
Cabrera hit a two-run shot off reliever Kevin Chapman in the seventh, connecting on an 0-2 pitch. He has hit more home runs in eight games this season than he did in 88 last season, when he missed time with leg injuries before having a benign tumor removed from his spine on Aug. 30.
”I feel 100 percent now and I’m ready to go,” Cabrera said through a translator. ”It’s good. I don’t have any pain now.”
Cabrera’s home run streak began Friday night, when he welcomed Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka to the big leagues with a leadoff blast. Cabrera hit a solo shot in the eighth inning Saturday, then added another leadoff drive Sunday.
”We’re in a good park to hit home runs, that’s for sure,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. ”I thought when we signed him last year he had a chance to hit some home runs here.”
Toronto left-hander Mark Buehrle said the change in Cabrera’s game is pronounced.
”Even playing the outfield it seems like he’s a little quicker,” Buehrle said. ”Last year he didn’t seem like the same guy that I’ve seen playing against him for all those years.”
Buehrle (2-0) allowed one run and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings, walked one and struck out three.
”I’m fortunate to get away with giving up one run,” Buehrle said. ”That could have been a game where I give up eight to 10 runs.”
Sergio Santos struck out the side in the ninth for his third save in three chances.
Brett Oberholtzer (0-2) gave up three runs and three hits in 5 1-3 innings for Houston. He walked three and struck out three.
Bautista opened the scoring Tuesday with a two-out solo homer in the first, his fourth of the season and just his sixth hit overall.
Houston tied it in the second on Matt Dominguez’s sacrifice fly.
Toronto reclaimed the lead in the fourth thanks to a miscue by Astros left fielder Robbie Grossman. Edwin Encarnacion drew a one-out walk and came all the way around when Dioner Navarro’s double took a high hop off the artificial turf and bounced over Grossman’s outstretched glove.
Astros manager Bo Porter said he reminded his players before the game to be wary of big bounces, but Grossman still got burned.
”He kind of got caught in between,” Porter said.
The Blue Jays chased Oberholtzer and scored one more in the sixth. Oberholtzer left after walking Bautista and Encarnacion, but Josh Zeid came on and picked Bautista off second. Navarro followed with an RBI double.
Houston cut the deficit to one without a hit in the seventh. Reliever Aaron Loup walked ninth hitter Jonathan Villar and leadoff man Grossman and a double steal advanced the runners before Villar scored on Jose Altuve’s grounder.
NOTES: Houston OF Dexter Fowler made his first appearance since a stomach virus put him in hospital last Friday night. He had missed the past four games. … Houston placed RH Matt Albers on the paternity list and recalled Zeid from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Albers is expected to rejoin the Astros Friday when they begin a three-game series at Texas. … Blue Jays SS Jose Reyes tested his sore left hamstring by running on a treadmill before the game. … Toronto RH Casey Janssen (back) will throw a second bullpen session Wednesday. Janssen said he will ”probably not” be ready to return when eligible April 13, and expects to make one or two minor league rehab appearances. … The Blue Jays are moving RHP R.A. Dickey’s next start up one day, meaning he will face the Astros in Thursday’s series finale. RH Dustin McGowan is being bumped back a day and will start Friday at Baltimore. … Houston RH Lucas Harrell (0-1) faces Toronto RH Brandon Morrow (0-1) on Wednesday.