Brett Oberholtze (Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)
You can’t accuse the Houston Astros of not hitting tonight, because they did. The Astros had nine hits, but were only able to scrap together two runs in their 5-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. Leaving 10 runners on base is just unacceptable. You aren’t going to win many games by going 0-14 with runners in scoring position.
Brett Oberholtzer didn’t have the best start, but he did deserve a better fate. The left-hander made his second start of the season pitching 5.1 innings and allowing three runs on three hits and three walks. Oberholtzer needed 92 pitches to get through the night, and was also done in by poor defense.
Jose Bautista got the scoring started with a first inning home run for Toronto, and Oberholtzer kept the Blue Jays off the scoreboard until the fourth inning. Edwin Encarnacion walked with one out in the fourth inning and then came around to score on the first of Dioner Navarro‘s two RBI doubles. It should have just been a single, but the ball took a bad hop over Robbie Grossman‘s head allowing Encarnacion to score from first base.
Navarro’s second double of the game came off of Josh Zeid who relieved Oberholtzer in the sixth inning. A Melky Cabrera two home run off Kevin Chapman in the seventh inning closed out the scoring for the Blue Jays. Chapman continues to struggle and saw his ERA rise to 18.00 on the season with that long ball. On the bright side, the left-hander did strike out the side.
Jose Altuve and Jesus Guzman had back to back to singles with one out in the first inning, but they were quickly erased by a Jason Castro double play. That set the tone for the whole game as Castro went 0-4 with a strikeout.
In the seventh inning with Toronto ahead 3-1, the Astros were by any stretch not out of the game. Grossman and Jonathan Villar led the inning off with back to back walks and then promptly executed a double steal. Altuve grounded to first which plated Grossman and then a Guzman strikeout and Castro line out ended that threat.
After Chapman gave the Blue Jays a cushion, Houston once again was primed to strike in the eighth inning. An L.J. Hoes walk and Dominguez double put two runners in scoring position with out one. That brought Dexter Fowler to the plate as a pinch hitter. Fowler who is sorely missed, will likely be back in the lineup tomorrow. Grossman has yet to get going this season and is batting just .069.
A swinging bunt by Fowler gave us an introduction to the new home plate collision rules. It looked like Navarro blocked the plate too early as he ultimately tagged Hoes out. Depending on how you interpret the rules and the events, you could make the argument that Hoes should have been safe, but upon review the umpires didn’t see it that way.
The Astros got a solid start for Oberholtzer and were able to put runners on base, but they just were not able to put it together falling to 3-5 on the season.