Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Sanchez Shines: Young Right-Hander in Form as Blue Jays Top Astros 6-2

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Sanchez Shines: Young Right-Hander in Form as Blue Jays Top Astros 6-2

Article excerpt

Sanchez in form as Blue Jays top Astros 6-2

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TORONTO - Aaron Sanchez was very impressive during his stint as a closer last year.

He's starting to show the same form in his first season as a starter.

Sanchez pitched into the ninth inning and did not walk a batter as the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Houston Astros 6-2 on Friday night at Rogers Centre.

The 22-year-old right-hander allowed one earned run and six hits while striking out three. He retired the first nine batters in order and looked dominant over eight innings before giving up a solo homer to Jason Castro in the ninth.

It was his fourth straight quality start and he trimmed his earned-run average to 3.55 from 3.88.

"Now he's just doing it but he's having to do it for more innings," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. "He keeps getting better and better every time he goes out there."

Jose Bautista and Jose Reyes hit two-run homers to power the Blue Jays to their third straight victory. Chris Colabello had three hits for his 10th multi-hit game of the season.

Sanchez (5-4) was pulled after giving up back-to-back singles in the ninth and left to a standing ovation. Reliever Roberto Osuna struck out the side to help Toronto (26-30) take the opener in the three-game series.

The Blue Jays did most of their damage in a five-run third inning against Houston starter Roberto Hernandez (2-5). That was more than enough support for Sanchez, who threw 66 of his 103 pitches for strikes.

"Really it was easy to watch," Gibbons said. "A lot of ground balls, strike after strike."

Sanchez, who was 2-2 with a 1.09 ERA in 24 relief appearances last season, said his goal was to get some shutdown innings after he was given the big lead.

"I felt like I did a good job of that and the next thing I know I'm in the ninth," he said.

Houston (34-22) entered play with the best record in the American League and had won its last seven meetings against Toronto.

Kevin Pillar reached on an infield single in the third inning and scored when Reyes hit his first homer of the season. …

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