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Yordan Alvarez homers twice, Astros shut out Blue Jays again in 8-0 victory

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HOUSTON (AP) — Yordan Alvarez homered twice and matched his career high with four hits, Cristian Javier and four relievers combined on a one-hitter and the Houston Astros beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-0 on Wednesday night.

Javier (1-0) allowed the only hit and pitched five innings. Seth Martinez, Rafael Montero, Tayler Scott and Dylan Coleman worked an inning each.

It’s the second game in the series where the Blue Jays were shut out after Ronel Blanco threw the 17th no-hitter in franchise history in a 10-0 victory Monday night.

It was a breakout night for Alvarez, who entered Wednesday having hit just three singles in the first six games. It was the 16th career multi-homer game for the Cuban and the sixth time he’s had four hits.

“It was a matter of time,” manager Joe Espada said. “Anytime he can put some good swings like that and and hit some balls hard and it’s a good sign and that’s exactly what we needed.”

Alvarez said there was a simple reason why he broke out Wednesday.

“I (used) last year’s bats,” he said in Spanish through a translator.

Though he had two home runs, he thought two other balls he hit were going to leave the park.

“Yeah,” he said. “Welcome to Minute Maid.”

Alvarez, who added an RBI double in the fourth, homered off Chris Bassitt (0-2) in the third and connected off Tim Mayza in the sixth.

The Astros tagged Bassitt (0-2) for nine hits and four runs in 4 1/3 innings in his second tough start to open the season after he allow 10 hits and a career-high nine runs in his season debut.

Daulton Varsho doubled with one out in the second for Toronto’s only hit. The Blue Jays walked seven times but couldn’t get anything going at the plate.

“We’re not doing much damage on balls we’re putting in play right now,” manager John Schneider said. “That’s kind of been the story of this series. It’s good pitching. So, you want to do a little bit more but you move on.”

Jeremy Peña hit a two-run homer and Jose Altuve added a solo shot in the seventh to make it 8-0. Peña had two hits and drove in three runs in his fourth multi-hit game this season. It was the second straight game with a homer for Altuve and his third this season.

There was one out in the third when Alvarez, who hit 31 homers last season, knocked one to the bullpen in right-center to put Houston on top 1-0.

Altuve walked with two outs in the fourth before scoring on a double by Alvarez to extend the lead to 2-0.

Chas McCormick and Peña hit consecutive RBI singles with one out in the fifth to make it 4-0.

The second homer by Alvarez came to start the sixth and extend the lead to 5-0. The shot landed in the seats behind the bullpen in right-center.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: RHP Alek Manoah (right shoulder soreness) threw a three-inning simulated game in Florida Tuesday. Blue Jays manager John Schneider said the next step will likely be for Manoah to make a rehabilitation start for Single-A Dunedin Sunday.

Astros: RHP Justin Verlander (right shoulder inflammation) will throw a bullpen in Houston Thursday before making the first of what is expected to be two rehabilitation starts for Triple-A Sugar Land Sunday.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: LHP Yusei Kikuchi (0-1, 6.23 ERA) will face New York RHP Marcus Stroman (1-0, 0.00) in the opener of a three-game series against the Yankees on Friday.

Astros: RHP Hunter Brown (0-0, 0.00) opposes Texas RHP Cody Bradford (1-0, 3.60) in the first of four games against the Rangers on Friday night.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB

By KRISTIE RIEKEN
AP Sports Writer

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