- Associated Press - Thursday, August 4, 2016

HOUSTON (AP) - Collin McHugh pitched considerably better Wednesday night than his previous time out.

Still, with Houston’s offense still sputtering, the season-high three home runs McHugh surrendered doomed the Astros.

Josh Donaldson hit two home runs, and Marco Estrada threw seven solid innings and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Astros 3-1 on Wednesday night.

McHugh (7-8) allowed three runs and six hits with 10 strikeouts in six innings.

“Stuff wise, most of my pitches were there for most of the day,” McHugh said. “Early on we kind of settled into a little bit of a groove and felt pretty good.”

The right-hander was coming off his worst outing of the season Friday when he allowed eight runs in 1 2-3 innings of a 14-6 loss to Detroit.

“He had a rough last game, so I think he came out with the a little bit of an edge, maybe a chip on his shoulder,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “He had a ton of conviction early in his pitches.”

Jose Bautista hit his second home run in two nights in the sixth as he and Donaldson went back-to-back.

Donaldson led off the fourth with a home run to right field before hitting his 27th home run of the season in the sixth. It was Donaldson’s third multi-homer game this season.

“Home runs are kind of accidents,” McHugh said. “They could have easily been doubles or singles if it’s an inch higher or an inch lower. They found barrel on fastballs and it got out of the park.”

Marwin Gonzalez, who had missed the past four games with a right hand injury, had a double in the sixth. Altuve followed with an RBI double to cut the lead to 3-1.

Houston has lost five of its past six games. The Astros have scored 12 runs in those games, with half of them coming in Friday’s loss.

“I see some guys that are carrying a little extra baggage around,” Hinch said. “Obviously, this is a difficult month and when you start getting behind a little bit you want to do a little bit harder.”

Estrada (7-4) won his second straight start, allowing one run and four hits with seven strikeouts. Estrada has allowed four runs or fewer in each of his past 12 starts.

“Marco he’s got a track record,” McHugh said. “He’s been a good pitcher for a long time. We know he’s going to be tough coming in.”

Joe Biagini escaped a one-out jam in the eighth, inducing a flyout from Jose Altuve and striking out Carlos Correa to strand runners on second and third. Roberto Osuna pitched the ninth for his 23rd save.

“Altuve was aggressive knowing he was going to get a strike,” Hinch said. “You know Correa’s at-bat, their guy did a pretty good job of getting ahead of him and it was a bad time for a miss. Human element of the game sometimes you know hurts you and in that regard it was a borderline pitch that didn’t go our way.”

TRAINING ROOM

Blue Jays: SS Troy Tulowitzki (thumb) was out of the lineup for the third straight game Wednesday. Tulowitzki hit off a tee and was expected to take batting practice, manager John Gibbons said.

Astros: RHP Lance McCullers was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a mild sprain of the right elbow. RHP Brad Peacock was recalled from Triple-A Fresno to take McCullers’ roster spot.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: LHP J.A. Happ (14-3) will be going for his ninth straight win Thursday. The left-hander has not lost since June 6 and has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his past five starts.

Astros: RHP Mike Fiers (7-4) will take the mound in the finale of the four-game series. Fiers is coming off a solid outing Saturday against Detroit where he took a no-decision after allowing one run in 6 1-3 innings.

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