After losing Friday largely because of the long ball, the Houston Astros matched the Toronto Blue Jays' power display Saturday at this year's most home run-friendly park.
Considering the way rookie Jarred Cosart has pitched, the Astros might not need nearly as much offense Sunday as they seek a four-game split in Toronto.
The Blue Jays (47-56) recorded a franchise-record 12 extra-base hits in a 12-6 victory Friday with eight of their runs coming on five homers, which matched a season high. They tallied three more homers Saturday, but Chris Carter, Matt Dominguez and Justin Maxwell went deep for the Astros in their 8-6 win, just their fifth in 24 games.
"We need every win that we can get," manager Bo Porter said. "Just looking at the last few games, and we were in a position to win several of them and were not able to come out on the winning side. It was good to get a good performance."
Carter's team-leading 19th of the year, a three-run shot, snapped his nine-game homerless drought while Dominguez's 13th was just his second in 23 games.
Houston (35-68), which homered four times over its previous seven games, has 99 home runs on the season while Toronto has 131, second in the majors behind Baltimore.
The 165 homers hit at Rogers Centre are the most of any stadium.
Cosart (1-0, 0.60 ERA) has yet to allow one through 15 major league innings. The right-hander took a no-hitter into the seventh of his big league debut at Tampa Bay on July 12, then limited Oakland to two runs - one earned - over seven innings of a 5-4 victory Tuesday, though he didn't receive a decision.
He is the third Astros pitcher to throw at least seven innings in each of his first two big league starts while allowing one earned run or fewer.
"He looked like he was in control of the game the entire time," Porter told the team's official website after Cosart allowed seven hits and threw 115 pitches in his last outing. "That's why I stayed with him as long as I stayed with him."
Cosart will have to be especially wary of Colby Rasmus, who hit his 17th homer Saturday and is batting .417 over his last 16 games with nine doubles.
Toronto also will start a rookie as Todd Redmond (1-1, 4.43) takes the mound. He went without a decision his last time out, surrendering three runs and seven hits over a career-best 5 2-3 innings in a 10-9 loss to the Dodgers on Tuesday.
"He did a great job. He gave us what we needed," manager John Gibbons said of Redmond, who struck out a career-best six for the second straight start. "It's not an easy lineup to face and he held them in check."
Houston second baseman Jose Altuve left in the seventh inning Saturday with a sore left quadriceps, but Porter described the injury as mild and said he planned on giving him Sunday off anyway.
A win would give the Astros, who have dropped 19 of 24, their first non-losing series since a two-game split with St. Louis from June 25-26.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved