Rolling Astros open road trip in Toronto

Back on track after an impressive homestand, the Houston Astros will give the road another try when they open a three-game series at Toronto on Friday.

The Astros will enter off a defeat Thursday against the Tampa Bay Rays, but still ended their homestand winning eight of 10, helping to eliminate the awful taste of a recent road swing the club still is trying to forget.

Houston had to weather a five-game losing streak to the Chicago White Sox and Oakland Athletics on the tail end of a three-city trip in the middle of the month. In sync again after a homestand against the Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels and Rays, the Astros are just a game off of the New York Yankees’ pace for best record in the American League.

The Astros nearly rallied for a victory Thursday in a back-and-forth affair against the Rays, falling 9-8. Houston did get a ninth-inning home run from Abraham Toro, the first career long ball for the highly-regarded rookie infielder, who made his major league debut a week ago.

Toro, a Montreal-area native, is looking forward to his return to Canada this weekend, where he will play in front a number of acquaintances, some of whom he didn’t even know were planning to attend.

« It’s going to be great to see my family and friends, » Toro, according to « Some of my friends sent me the schedule and said, ‘Hey, I’m going to be in Toronto,’ and I said, ‘Why Toronto?’ I looked at the schedule and said, ‘Oh, that’s nice.’ I didn’t even know at first. »

The Blue Jays are hoping that a continuation of their homestand is what they need after losing five of six games on a recent road trip to Los Angeles (Dodgers) and Seattle. Their issues actually go back to their previous homestand, where they lost consecutive games before hitting the road.

The Blue Jays did split a brief-two game series against the Braves at Toronto this week and will try to rebound from Wednesday’s 9-4 defeat against Atlanta.

Friday’s series opener will pit Blue Jays rookie utility man Cavan Biggio against the team his father Craig played for in all 20 seasons of his Hall of Fame career. Craig Biggio is scheduled to be in attendance for the series.

After going 2-for-17 in the five games he played on the road trip, Cavan Biggio is 3-for-7 with two walks on the homestand so far. When the two teams played at Houston in June, he was 4-for-13 with two doubles as the Blue Jays won one of the three games.

« The last two nights, he’s doing a lot better, » Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. « His approach is a lot better, and he’s got (three) hits in the last two nights. That’s good to see. I knew that was coming, but I’m glad he’s doing it now. He’s making adjustments and it’s working. Hopefully he’ll get hot now and keep it going for the next month. »

The Astros will send left-hander Wade Miley (13-4, 3.13 ERA) to the mound Friday. He is 2-7 lifetime against the Blue Jays in 10 starts, posting a 4.47 ERA over 56 1/3 innings.

Toronto will counter with rookie right-hander Trent Thornton (4-8, 5.34). He pitched well against the Astros in June contributing 6 2/3 scoreless innings in a victory at Houston.

–Field Level Media

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