Toronto’s Todd Redmond had been solid in his previous seven starts this season.
On Friday night things fell apart quickly for Redmond, he was out of the game with one out in the fourth inning and the Houston Astros were well on their way to a 12-4 romp over the Blue Jays.
Rookie Robbie Grossman homered and drove in a career-high four runs and Matt Dominguez had a solo shot and the Astros used a big fourth inning to cruise to the win.
Houston led by one before adding five runs in the fourth inning behind a two RBI triple by Jonathan Villar and a run-scoring triple by Jason Castro to make it 8-2.
Redmond (1-2) allowed eight hits and seven runs — both career highs — in 3 1-3 innings, which was the shortest start of his career.
“He’s been pitching very good,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “Just tonight, he didn’t have it. You could see those replays on the board after he gave up those hits, and the ball is just leaking back over the zone. Like I said, he has been very good, so that is kind of unusual for him.”
Redmond said he felt good in the bullpen before the game, but once he got on the mound he just couldn’t locate the ball.
“I was leaving the ball up,” he said. “I wasn’t making my pitches today. Any major league team, if you leave the ball up, they are going to get hits. I would throw one good pitch then throw two bad pitches, and one of those two bad pitches would be a hit. I just didn’t have it tonight.”
Dominguez homered in the second inning to make it 2-1 and Grossman added a two-run shot in the seventh to push the lead to 12-2.
Jordan Lyles (6-6) allowed 10 hits and four runs in 7 1-3 innings for the win.
J.P. Arencibia, Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Lawrie all homered for the Blue Jays, who have lost six straight and eight of their past 11 games.
Grossman, who has a career-long 10-game hitting streak, hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning and added an RBI single in the fifth.
Houston got contributions throughout its lineup with nine players collecting hits and six driving in runs.
Gibbons was asked if relying on so many players recently called up from Triple-A because of injuries to his starters changed his view of this loss.
“No, this is the big leagues,” he said. “A loss is a loss. This is an opportunity for some young kids, and we expect them to produce. This is an opportunity for them to do that. It started out good. We put a run on the board early. You are feeling good with the home run by (Edwin). Then, they exploded in the fourth.”
Rajai Davis singled with one out in the first inning. He was then caught stealing, snapping a streak of 19 straight stolen base attempts without being thrown out. It proved to be a costly out when Encarnacion homered to the seats in right field to make it 1-0.
L.J. Hoes drew a one-out walk in the first. The Astros tied it at 1 with Jose Altuve’s RBI double off the wall in left-centre field.
Dominguez started Houston’s second with a home run to the Crawford Boxes in left field to make it 2-1.
Hoes singled to start Houston’s third. The Astros went up 3-1 when Altuve singled before an error by Redmond when he badly overthrew first base scored Hoes. Altuve was easily out at third on the play on a baserunning blunder when he had no chance to beat the throw.
Arencibia got the Blue Jays within 3-2 when he homered for the second straight game with one out in the fourth inning. His 20 home runs are the most for a catcher in the majors.
Brandon Barnes started Houston’s scoring in the fifth with an RBI single. Villar followed with his second triple of the game, which landed in the corner of right field, to send two more home and push the lead to 6-2. The Astros added another run on the sacrifice fly by Grossman before Hoes drew a walk to chase Redmond.
Brad Lincoln retired Altuve before Castro’s RBI triple made it 8-2. That hit sailed out of reach of diving centre fielder Anthony Gose and rolled up Tal’s Hill in straightaway centre. Lincoln was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo after the game.
Houston second baseman Marwin Gonzalez made a nifty play for the first out in the ninth when he grabbed a grounder hit by Gose just beyond the infield grass and spun around to make the throw to Brett Wallace and just beat him to first base.