In case anyone thought the Astros might be slowing down with their huge division lead, they delivered a message Sunday afternoon in Toronto just before departing for their four-day All-Star Break: "We're not done yet."
Party Time in Toronto
(c) Associated Press
Yuri Gurriel's homer started a five-run second inning and the Astros never let the foot off the accelerator after that, plucking the Blue Jays, 19-1, in the largest margin of victory in franchise history. I doubt many of you remember the previous record-holder, a 17-1 destruction of the to-be World Champion St. Louis Cardinals on June, 7, 1967.
The Astros started off against familiar faces - former Astros J.A. Happ and Lucas Harrell. For Toronto's part, they used actual pitchers the entire game instead of the common practice of turning to non-pitchers late in blowout losses.
The Astros added three runs in the sixth, six more in the seventh and a rub-it-in four more in the ninth. Brad Peacock worked six innings for his seventh win and the score was, at one time, 19-0, before Frances Martes allowed a so-what homer to Ezequiel Carrera in the ninth.
The heart of the Houston order was a terror. Jose Altuve scored four times and was 3-for-4 to lift his league-leading batting average to .347. Carlos Correa smashed two home runs, including his 20th of the year, going 4-for-5 with five RBIs and Evan Gattis homered and went 2-for-5 with four RBIs. George Springer was 2-for-4 before he was given the rest of the afternoon off.
I'm not sure this club wants to take four days off but the best of them will be at the All-Star Game on Tuesday night in Miami. Altuve, Correa and Springer will be starting while Lance McCullers and Chris Devenski will wait their turn in the bullpen. Dallas Keuchel also was selected but he will not play due to injury.
The Astros will start second-half action at home against Minnesota. You remember them, don't you? Those were the guys they scored 40 runs against in three days back in May. Charlie Morton (6-3) will get the 7:10 Friday opener for Houston against Jose Berrios (8-2).
Houston is currently 60-29 and on pace for 109 wins, which would blow past the club record of 102 set in 1998.
- Bob Hulsey