Here’s how Houston Astros will hope to sustain MLB-best run

STONE COLD 'STROS

Here’s how Houston Astros will hope to sustain MLB-best run
Astros beat the Blue Jays, 3-1. Composite Getty Image.

Hunter Brown pitched six shutout innings, Jeremy Peña and Yordan Alavarez hit home runs and the Houston Astros beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-1 on Monday afternoon for their 10th win in 11 games.

After going 4-0 with a 1.16 ERA in five June starts, Brown (6-5) opened July with another solid outing. The right-hander allowed two hits, both singles. He walked three and struck out five.

Decked out in special red jerseys and caps, the Blue Jays lost on the Canada Day holiday for a second year in a row.

After Rafael Montero worked a 1-2-3 seventh inning, the Blue Jays loaded the bases against Bryan Abreu in the eighth. Abreu escaped by getting Daulton Varsho to ground out.

Josh Hader allowed a solo home run to Ernie Clement in the ninth but finished for his 13th save in 14 chances.

The Blue Jays have played 36 innings against the Astros this season and scored in just two of them. Toronto won 2-1 on April 2 when David Schneider hit a two-run home run off Hader in the ninth inning.

Clement's homer off Hader was his fourth of the season.

Houston’s Ronel Blanco threw a no-hitter against Toronto on April 1, and five Astros pitchers combined on a one-hit win over the Blue Jays on April 3.

Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was scratched from the lineup Monday because of pain in his right hand. Guerrero was hit on the fingers by a 96 mph fastball from Yankees right-hander Gerrit Cole in the third inning of Sunday’s loss to New York.

Toronto right-hander Yariel Rodríguez retired the first 14 batters before Peña hit a first-pitch homer in the fifth inning for his sixth of the season.

Rodríguez (0-3) allowed one run and two hits in a career-high 6 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out six.

Alvarez gave the Astros some insurance with a two-run shot off Zach Pop in the ninth. The homer was his 17th.

ROSTER MOVES

Blue Jays: Toronto put catcher Danny Jansen on the paternity list and recalled catcher Brian Serven from Triple-A Buffalo.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: 2B Jose Altuve got the day off. … Right-hander Justin Verlander (neck) resumed throwing over the weekend but there is no timetable for his return, manager Joe Espada said.

Blue Jays: INF Spencer Horwitz moved from second base to replace Guerrero, and Ernie Clement came in to play third. … INF Isiah Kiner-Falefa was scratched from the lineup because of a sore left knee. Kevin Kiermaier came in to play center, Daulton Varsho moved from center to left, and Davis Schneider went from left field to second.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays RHP José Berríos (7-6, 3.38 ERA) is scheduled to start Tuesday night against Astros RHP Spencer Arrighetti (4-6, 5.68).

Be sure to watch the video above as the guys from Stone Cold 'Stros react to the win live, and discuss how the Astros can sustain their success.

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Mariners defeat Astros, 6-4. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

Astros designated hitter Yordan Alvarez hit for the cycle against the Seattle Mariners on Sunday, becoming the 10th player in Houston history to accomplish the feat.

Alvarez singled in the first inning, hit his 20th homer of the season off Mariners starter Bryan Woo in the fourth, added a run-scoring triple to center field in the sixth off Taylor Saucedo and completed the cycle with a double down the right field line in the eighth against Gregory Santos.

Alvarez finished 4 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs scored in the Astros' 6-4 loss to Seattle.

Asked if he'd ever hit for a cycle in his baseball life, Alvarez said, “Not even in Playstation.”

“I’m very excited,” Alvarez said. “I felt a little bit of pressure there, but I knew I needed a double and when I hit the ball I said, ‘There it is.”

The 27-year-old Alvarez had the second cycle in the history of T-Mobile Park, after Miguel Tejada's on September 29, 2001.

The triple, the sixth of Alvarez's career, came on a fly ball to deep center field. Julio Rodríguez jumped for the ball against the wall, but dropped the catch and sprained his right ankle on the play. The ball rolled toward the infield before left fielder Dylan Moore grabbed it as Alvarez hustled into third.

“It was a confusing play,” Alvarez said. "When I hit the ball, I thought it was going to carry a little bit more, and then I saw him jump at the wall and make the catch, and then I saw him hit the wall and the ball drops and he drops. I just knew I needed to continue running there.”

Before Sunday, the most recent cycle by a member of the Astros came on August 28, 2023, by Jose Altuve against Boston.

Luke Raley hit a three-run homer, Bryan Woo pitched 5 2/3 solid innings and the Seattle Mariners overcame an injury to Julio Rodríguez to beat the Houston Astros 6-4 on Sunday.

The win snapped a five-game losing streak and put the Mariners into a tie with Houston for the AL West Division lead.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: RHPs Justin Verlander (neck discomfort) and Luis Garcia (Tommy John surgery) both felt good after throwing bullpens on Saturday, and Espada said the plan is for both to throw again sometime in the next couple of days.

ROSTER MOVE

The Mariners traded RHP Mike Baumann to the San Francisco Giants on Sunday for cash considerations.

UP NEXT

Astros: RHP Spencer Arrighetti (4-7, 5.63 ERA) will pitch Monday in Houston’s series opener at Oakland.

Mariners: RHP Bryce Miller (7-7, 3.63 ERA) will start Monday against Angels lefty Tyler Anderson. Miller has a 4.46 ERA in his past seven starts, with 10 walks and 27 strikeouts.

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