- Associated Press - Sunday, May 17, 2015

HOUSTON (AP) - The Toronto Blue Jays wasted another strong outing by Mark Buehrle.

Collin McHugh pitched seven strong innings and Luis Valbuena and Colby Rasmus each homered, leading the Houston Astros over the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2 on Sunday for their fifth straight win.

Toronto went 1-6 on its road trip and has lost nine of 12 road games after starting the year 4-2 away from home.

“It’s not good,” Buehrle said. “I’m stating the obvious right now when I say that we stink. We are not playing very good on every aspect. When we’re pitching good, we’re not hitting. When we hit and score runs, which we have done most of the year, we are not doing a good job of pitching.

Buehrle (5-3) had a third straight solid outing, giving up four runs and six hits with five strikeouts in a season-high eight innings.

“I just felt good,” Buehrle said. “It was a good day. I felt strong throughout. … I felt like everything was working for the most part. I made some mistakes, and they made me pay for them. I got away with a few of them.”

It was Buehrle’s first complete game since July 25, 2013, against the Astros. Buehrle has allowed seven runs in 19 innings over his last three starts after being tagged for 13 runs in 10 innings in the prior two starts.

Buehrle said it’s still early, but the Blue Jays have turn things around.

“I don’t feel like we are as bad as we are playing. I don’t think we are as bad as we are showing out there. We have to go out there and play better,” he said. “We have to turn it around before we have a fire sale and start trading guys or sending guys up and down.”

Rasmus hit a mammoth solo shot into the upper deck in right field in the sixth to give the Astros a 3-2 advantage. Valbuena connected for his team-leading 10th homer in the first.

McHugh (5-1) allowed two runs and six hits. He struck out nine. The right-hander was coming off his worst start of the season after being tagged for seven runs against San Francisco, a loss that ended a streak of a win in 11 straight decisions.

McHugh is 14-7 with a 2.80 ERA in his last 27 starts dating to last May 27.

Pat Neshek was perfect in the eighth and Luke Gregerson pitched the ninth for his 10th save.

The Blue Jays tied it at one on Jose Bautista’s sacrifice fly in the third.

Ryan Goins’ sacrifice fly in the fourth gave Toronto a 2-1 lead, but Jonathan Villar’s RBI double to left knotted it at 2 in the bottom half.

Jake Marisnick upped Houston’s lead to 4-2 with a sacrifice fly in the seventh.

“We just got our butt whooped here,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “You don’t need to dissect it any more than that. That’s just the way it goes sometimes.”


Blue Jays: 2B Devon Travis did not play after leaving Saturday’s game with left shoulder irritation after striking out in the seventh.


Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez (3-3) will try to bounce back after allowing a season-high five runs in a loss to Baltimore Wednesday as Toronto opens a four-game series at home against the Angels.

Astros: RHP Lance McCullers will make his MLB debut Monday to start a three-game series against Oakland. McCullers, who was the 41st pick in the 2012 draft, was promoted to Triple-A Fresno Thursday from Double-A Corpus Christi, but he did not pitch a game for Fresno.

“It feels good to walk in here and know I’ve accomplished my life long goal,” McCullers said. “It’s surprising because I had just gotten to Fresno and expected to be there.”


Valbuena and Morgan Ensberg, who had 11 in in 2006, are the only third baseman in Astros history to record 10 homers in the club’s first 38 games. Of Valbuena’s 10 long balls, nine have been solo shots. Rasmus’ homer was his third go-ahead homer this season.

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