Blue Jays dominate in rubber match vs Astros

Aug 14, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (2) celebrates a two run home run with first baseman Justin Smoak (14) during the fifth inning in a game against the Houston Astros at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 14, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (2) celebrates a two run home run with first baseman Justin Smoak (14) during the fifth inning in a game against the Houston Astros at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Blue Jays won their second straight series, beating the Astros 9-2 in the rubber match on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday afternoon the Blue Jays sent Marcus Stroman to the hill against Mike Fiers in the 3rd game of their series with the Astros. The teams had split the first two games in Toronto, with the Astros winning 5-3 on Friday, and the Blue Jays winning 4-2 in yesterday’s game.

Stroman pitched well again as he continues his resurgent second half for the Jays. The right hander finished with a line of 6.1 innings, 2 runs (1 earned), 5 hits, and 8 strikeouts against no walks.

The Blue Jays got to Fiers early in the first when Devon Travis continued his hot hitting, doubling to left to open the game. Travis eventually came around to score on a Troy Tulowitzki single, putting the Jays up 1-0.

The Astros answered the run in the top of the 2nd after an error from Stroman. Carlos Correa reached on a single to lead off, and was followed by Marwin Gonzalez who was hit by a pitch. It looked like Stroman may get out of the inning without allowing a run, but he made an errant throw trying to retire Teoscar Hernandez, which brought home Correa.

The score remained locked at 1 until the bottom of the fourth when Tulowitzki reached again on an infield single. Russell Martin followed with a walk as well, before Tulo was brought around to score on a Darrell Ceciliani RBI single.

Edwin Encarnacion lead off the 5th with his 27th double of the season, before Tulowitzki put an exclamation point on his day at the plate with a 2 run shot to left, his 20th of the season. Martin prompted followed with a solo shot of his own to right centre, putting the Jays ahead 5-2 and chasing Fiers from the game. The Tulowitzki home run gave the Blue Jays 4 players with 20 or more home runs, and the Martin shot gave them 8 players with 10 or more. Martin homered for the second consecutive game, and also made a highlight reel catch against the dugout, putting his stamp on the game as well.

Next: Toronto Blue Jays: The ballad of Devon Travis

Stroman continued to pitch effectively until allowing a Jason Castro solo home run in the top of the 7th. He was relieved by Joaquin Benoit who allowed a couple hits before escaping the inning without further damage.

Encarnacion showed no signs of being hit on the hand, and added a solo shot of his own in the 7th inning, bringing the game to 6-2.

The Jays added another run in the bottom of the 8th on a Melvin Upton Jr RBI single, which scored Russell Martin. They eventually loaded the bases before Josh Donaldson walked with the bases loaded, and Encarnacion followed with another RBI sacrifice fly, to make it 9-2.

Brett Cecil came on in the 9th inning and gave the Jays another encouraging outing as the stretch run begins, pitching a 1-2-3 frame.

The Blue Jays extended their AL leading attendance to nearly 2.5 million thus far this season. The club has not had a season that surpassed 3 million since the 1993 season, and look to easily surpass that number in the not so distant future.

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