Astros waste chances in 5-2 loss to Blue Jays

Astros waste chances in 5-2 loss to Blue Jays

Credit: Getty

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 8: Brett Oberholtzer #39 of the Houston Astros throws a pitch in the second inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during MLB action at the Rogers Centre April 8, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)

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by IAN HARRISON / AP

The Associated Press

Posted on April 9, 2014 at 10:39 AM

TORONTO -- Fourteen times on Tuesday night, a Houston batter came to the plate with a runner in scoring position.

None of those chances produced the hit that could have made a difference to the struggling Astros.

Melky Cabrera homered for the fourth straight game, Jose Bautista also went deep and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Houston 5-2 on Tuesday night, handing the Astros their fifth loss in six games.

"We had our opportunities," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "We had men on base, we had men on third base with less than two outs and when you get into those situations, you've got to capitalize."

L.J. Hoes, who came up empty in his two chances to drive home a run, tried to play down Houston's struggles in key situations.

"We know that it's a work in progress and there's a lot of baseball left," Hoes said.

The Astros finished 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position in Monday's 9-1 home loss to the Angels.

Cabrera hit a two-run shot off reliever Kevin Chapman in the seventh, connecting on an 0-2 pitch.

"I think Chapman will let you know that he probably should have made a better pitch than that," Porter said.

Toronto left-hander Mark Buehrle (2-0) allowed one run and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings, walked one and struck out three.

Buehrle improved to 4-0 in four career starts against Houston, but acknowledged that the damage could have been much worse.

"I'm fortunate to get away with giving up one run," Buehrle said. "That could have been a game where I give up eight to 10 runs."

Sergio Santos struck out the side in the ninth for his third save in three chances.

Brett Oberholtzer (0-2) gave up three runs and three hits in 5 1-3 innings for Houston. He walked three and struck out three.

"I felt like he did a good job keeping us in the ballgame," Porter said.

Bautista opened the scoring Tuesday with a two-out solo homer in the first, his fourth of the season and just his sixth hit overall.

Houston tied it in the second on Matt Dominguez's sacrifice fly.

Toronto reclaimed the lead in the fourth thanks to a miscue by Astros left fielder Robbie Grossman. Edwin Encarnacion drew a one-out walk and came all the way around when Dioner Navarro's double took a high hop off the artificial turf and bounced over Grossman's outstretched glove.

Porter said he reminded his players before the game to be wary of big bounces, but Grossman still got burned.

"He kind of got caught in between," Porter said.

The Blue Jays chased Oberholtzer and scored one more in the sixth. Oberholtzer left after walking Bautista and Encarnacion, but Josh Zeid came on and picked Bautista off second. Navarro followed with an RBI double.

"Obviously I wanted to finish the sixth, but I let Bautista and Edwin get away from me," Oberholtzer said.

Houston cut the deficit to one without a hit in the seventh. Reliever Aaron Loup walked ninth hitter Jonathan Villar and leadoff man Grossman and a double steal advanced the runners before Villar scored on Jose Altuve's grounder.

Porter challenged a call at home plate in the eighth after Hoes was thrown out. Replay review upheld the call, but Porter felt Navarro had blocked the plate.

"In the old situation, that's a play where I would try to run the catcher over," Hoes said.

NOTES: Astros OF Dexter Fowler made his first appearance since a stomach virus put him in hospital last Friday night. He had missed the past four games. ... Houston placed RH Matt Albers on the paternity list and recalled Zeid from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Albers is expected to rejoin the Astros Friday when they begin a three-game series at Texas. ... The Blue Jays are moving RHP R.A. Dickey's next start up one day, meaning he will face the Astros in Thursday's series finale. RH Dustin McGowan is being bumped back a day and will start Friday at Baltimore. ... Houston RH Lucas Harrell (0-1) faces Toronto RH Brandon Morrow (0-1) on Wednesday.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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