Kirk drives in winning run to make a winner of Bassitt as Jays edge Astros 3-2
A general view of a closed dome at Rogers Centre as the Toronto Blue Jays face the Houston Astros in American League MLB baseball action in Toronto on Wednesday, June 7, 2023. Poor air quality has forced the roof to remain closed due to wildfires. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Lahodynskyj
Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, June 7, 2023 9:23PM EDT
TORONTO - Bo Bichette and Brandon Belt hit homers and pinch-hitter Alejandro Kirk drove in the go-ahead run to help the Toronto Blue Jays to a 3-2 win over the Houston Astros on Wednesday.
Toronto starter Chris Bassitt allowed two earned runs and four hits over eight innings.
Jordan Romano of Markham, Ont., worked the ninth for his 16th save as the Blue Jays (35-28) won for the sixth time in seven games.
Kirk lashed an RBI single off reliever Hector Neris in the seventh inning to score Daulton Varsho from second base, giving Toronto its first lead of the game.
The Astros threatened in the ninth when Mauricio Dubon led off with a double. But Romano got Jose Altuve to ground out and Kevin Kiermaier made a nice sliding catch in centre field on a Yordan Alvarez liner.
Romano struck out cleanup hitter Kyle Tucker to end it.
Alvarez homered for the Astros (36-26), who have dropped just eight of their last 27 games.
Bassitt (7-4) gave up a single to Dubon on his first pitch of the game but the Blue Jays doubled him off when Altuve lined out on a hit-and-run play.
After a rather quiet first three innings, things picked up in the fourth.
Alvarez turned on a 73-m.p.h. slider for a two-run blast that opened the scoring. It was his 17th homer of the year.
Bichette answered in the bottom half of the frame with a solo shot for his team-leading 14th homer.
Belt tied the game in the sixth inning with his fourth homer of the season. The no-doubt blast landed in the 200 level above the Houston bullpen.
Houston starter Ronel Blanco gave up three hits and two earned runs over six innings. He issued four walks and had five strikeouts.
Neris (3-2) came on in the seventh and was charged with a pitch-timer violation on a full count to Varsho, sending him to first base.
Varsho moved to second on a walk to Kiermaier and scored without a throw home on Kirk's single.
Bassitt had five strikeouts and didn't walk a batter. Announced attendance was 26,724 and the game took two hours three minutes to play.
The Rogers Centre roof was closed for the evening game due to poor air quality in the Ontario capital.
Smoke from wildfires burning in parts of the province and throughout Quebec has drifted into southern Ontario and the northeast United States.
The four-game series concludes Thursday night. Right-hander Jose Berrios (5-4, 3.66 earned-run average) was scheduled to start for the Blue Jays against left-hander Framber Valdez (6-4, 2.16).
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 7, 2023.