TORONTO — Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki belted three-run homers while Marcus Stroman pitched seven strong innings as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the American League-leading Houston Astros 7-2 on Saturday.
Stroman overcame early control issues to lead Toronto (41-46) before a sellout crowd of 46,659 at the Rogers Centre. Now, the Blue Jays have a chance to take three-of-four games from the newly dominant Astros.
Mike Fiers (5-4) allowed three runs, four walks and five hits over six innings for the Astros (59-29), who'd won four consecutive games and five straight series before heading north for this four-game set.
Houston opened the scoring in the top of the third when Stroman (9-5) walked leadoff hitter Norichika Aoki before allowing a sharply hit double to right field to George Springer that scored Aoki. When Josh Reddick followed with a single to put runners on the corners, the Astros seemed poised to break through.
Carlos Correa then drilled a dangerous liner to left but Donaldson made a leaping catch before throwing out Reddick to halt Houston's momentum.
Toronto didn't manage a hit until the fourth inning off Fiers, who was 4-1 in his last seven starts coming into the game.
Things came undone for Fiers in the fifth. He opened the inning by drilling Jose Bautista in the hand with a pitch before giving up a single to Russell Martin.
That brought up Donaldson, who immediately seemed agitated after Fiers nudged him off the plate with a high fastball near his chin. Four pitches later, Donaldson clubbed a changeup 432 feet into left-centre to give the Blue Jays a 3-1 lead. It was his ninth home run of the year.
Stroman, meanwhile, dialled in after his uneasy third. He fanned five batters over the next three innings and didn't again allow a runner to reach scoring position.
Bouncing back after a leaving his last start against the Yankees prematurely with a blister on his throwing hand, Stroman ultimately gave up one run, six hits and three walks over a seven innings.
Toronto added to its lead in the seventh with Fiers out of the game. With right-hander Chris Devenski on the mound, Martin singled and Donaldson walked before Smoak muscled a double off the wall in right-centre to make it 4-1.
After Kendrys Morales struck out, Tulowitzki smashed a fastball to left for his seventh homer of the year, putting Toronto ahead 7-1.
Relievers Danny Barnes and Joe Biagini, who allowed a solo homer to Marwin Gonzalez in the ninth, closed the game out to give Toronto its fourth win in five games.
NOTES: J.A. Happ takes the ball for Toronto in Sunday's finale against Houston's Brad Peacock, who has 80 strikeouts this season in under 56 innings. The Blue Jays will give away Aaron Sanchez bobbleheads. … Stroman has gone at least seven innings in seven starts this season. The rest of the Jays' rotation has collectively managed the feat only nine times.