- Associated Press - Thursday, April 10, 2014

TORONTO (AP) - Lucas Harrell got the groundball he was looking for. Unfortunately for the Houston Astros, third baseman Matt Dominguez heaved it into right field.

Brett Lawrie hit a two-run homer, Brandon Morrow won for the first time in almost 11 months and Toronto took advantage of Dominguez’s throwing error to beat Houston 7-3 on Wednesday night.

Alex Presley hit a two-run homer for the Astros, who have lost six of seven following a 2-0 start.

Houston couldn’t recover after the normally sure-handed Dominguez made a two-run miscue in the fifth inning, giving Toronto a 5-0 lead.

With one out, Houston intentionally walked Adam Lind to load the bases for Dioner Navarro, who hit a grounder to third. Dominguez tried to throw to second to start a double play, but his high toss ended up in right, scoring two runs.

“It cost us a lot of momentum,” Dominguez said. “At that point in the game, it’s a big play.”

The error spelled the end for Harrell, who allowed five runs, including four earned, and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings. Harrell (0-2) walked three, one intentional, and struck out two.

“He kept the ball on the ground, he threw more strikes than he did the last time and I felt like it was a step in the right direction,” Astros manager Bo Porter said.

The five-run cushion was more than enough for Morrow, who allowed three runs and five hits in six innings, walked one and struck out nine.

“He pitched well,” Dominguez said. “He was moving it in and out, he was really hitting his spots. He made it tough those first four or five innings.”

The Astros had just two hits off Morrow through five before breaking through with three runs in the sixth. Dexter Fowler singled and scored on Presley’s second homer before Jose Altuve hit a one-out triple and scored on Chris Carter’s grounder.

Morrow (1-1), limited to 10 starts last season with a nerve injury in his forearm, won for the first time since May 23, 2013, when he beat Baltimore.

“I felt good, so I was throwing with some conviction and with plenty behind it,” Morrow said.

Morrow retired the first nine batters in order, striking out six, but walked Fowler to begin the fourth on a ball-four pitch that sailed to the backstop. One out later, Jason Castro singled through the left side for Houston’s first hit.

Neil Wagner, recalled from Triple-A Buffalo before the game, pitched two perfect innings of relief. Steve Delabar got one out in the ninth, but had to leave after he was hit on the lower right leg by Altuve’s liner. Esmil Rogers finished for Toronto.

Delabar said the ball struck him on the right calf, hitting muscle rather than bone.

“It’ll be sore a couple of days, but it’s no big deal,” Gibbons said.

Jose Bautista hit an RBI double in the first and Lind added an RBI single as the Blue Jays jumped out to a quick lead against Harrell.

“First inning, I came out a little sluggish, left some balls out over the plate,” Harrell said.

Jerome Williams replaced Harrell, but had to leave with two outs in the sixth after straining his right groin. Josh Zeid came on and struck out Edwin Encarnacion to strand runners at first and second.

Porter said Williams had a “mild strain” and would be reevaluated Thursday.

Lawrie pushed Toronto’s lead to four when he connected off Zeid in the seventh, his first.

Toronto’s Melky Cabrera had two singles, extending his hitting streak to nine games. However, Cabrera failed to hit a home run for the first time in five games.

NOTES: Fowler returned to Houston’s starting lineup for the first time since a stomach virus caused him to miss four games. … Toronto optioned RHP Marcus Walden to Triple-A to make room for Wagner. … Wednesday marked the 49th anniversary of baseball’s first indoor game, the 1965 exhibition contest between Houston and the New York Yankees that opened the Astrodome.



Click to Read More

Click to Hide