Liriano shaky in Blue Jays loss to Astros, Encarnacion hits 300th HR

Aug 5, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Francisco Liriano (45) delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 5, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Francisco Liriano (45) delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports /
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Coming off a good debut for the Toronto Blue Jays against the Kansas City Royals, left-hander Francisco Liriano was not up to snuff in a 5-3 loss to the Houston Astros on Friday night.

Known to have subpar command, Liriano pitched himself into trouble on multiple occasions in this game and couldn’t get out of those self-induced situations every time.

While he was able to get out of some tight spots in the 2nd and 4th innings, the Astros did all the damage they needed to in the 3rd and 5th innings.

After striking out first baseman Tyler White to strand Evan Gattis at 2nd base following his two-out double in the 2nd inning, Liriano ran into some serious trouble in the 3rd.

A leadoff walk by Teoscar Hernandez, who was making his major league debut (more on that later), a one-out walk to George Springer, and a single by rookie Alex Bregman gave the Astros a bases loaded one-out situation to play with.

Carlos Correia, who the Blue Jays held in check well in last weeks series in Houston, followed that up by lining a single up the middle to cash in two runs and give the Astros a 2-0 lead.

The Blue Jays then went on to get one of those runs back in the bottom of the inning, as a leadoff double by Darrell Ceciliani and a single by Devon Travis gave the Jays runners at 1st and 3rd with no outs.

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Definitely a situation the Blue Jays were looking to cash in on, all they would get would be one run as Josh Donaldson drove in Ceciliani from third on a double play ground ball.

In the next inning it looked like Liriano was in for some more serious trouble, but after a leadoff double by Evan Gattis (one of two in the game for Gattis), Liriano wiggled his way out by striking out White, getting Hernandez to fly out and getting a groundball out off the bat of catcher Jason Castro.

Going into the bottom of the 4th facing only a one-run deficit, the Blue Jays managed to tie the game with a home run off the bat of Michael Saunders.

That was all the offence the Blue Jays managed to muster off the Astros starter Joe Musgrove, who was once a Blue Jays prospect but went to Houston in the trade that brought J.A. Happ to Toronto for the first time.

Musgrove, who shut down the Blue Jays in a stellar relief performance last week, pitched 7.0 innings, allowing just the two runs to go with seven strikeouts and just one walk.

After giving up another two runs in the 5th, including Teoscar Hernandez’s first career big league home run (part of a stellar 2-for-4 debut), Liriano was be pulled after pitching five and two thirds innings, allowing five earned runs.

It looked as though the Jays might manage to scratch some more runs together in the bottom of the 6th and 7th innings, as in the 6th Donaldson led off with an opposite field double, but was left stranded.

And in the 7th it seemed like a flyball off the bat of Justin Smoak (who also missed out on a double in the 4th as he was thrown out going for 2nd) might have a chance to land for a double on the line, but a fan reached out and grabbed the ball.

One positive takeaway for the Blue Jays came off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion, who hit his 300th career home run in the bottom of the ninth.

Tomorrow afternoon the Blue Jays and Astros are set to play again at 1:07 EST with Aaron Sanchez set to take the mound for the Blue Jays, facing off against Collin McHugh of the Astros.