Houston first baseman Yuli Gurriel continued his early season tear on Friday, notching a four-hit game to pace the Astros to a 10-4 victory over the visiting Toronto Blue Jays.
Gurriel entered the three-game series leading the Astros in hits (35), RBIs (20), walks (16) and on-base percentage (.405). He boosted those totals by going 4 for 4 with two runs scored and four RBIs on Friday. He slugged his fifth home run of the season, a two-run shot in the fifth inning, and added an RBI single in the seventh and a sacrifice fly in the eighth to raise his OPS to .972.
And he’ll look to post more stellar numbers on Saturday when the Astros host the Blue Jays for the second game of their three-game series.
“He worked hard over the winter,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said of Gurriel. “That’s the Yuli I heard about. He might hit the ball anywhere, and that’s how you hit.”
Gurriel notched his fifth game with at least three hits this season after failing to record a three-hit game in 2020.
“I feel really good,” Gurriel said. “I’m having a lot of fun. I’m just glad I’m helping the team win. To be able to do that makes me feel really good.”
Right-hander Cristian Javier (3-0, 1.75 ERA) gets the starting nod for the Astros on Saturday. He allowed a three-run home run to Austin Meadows in his most recent outing, against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 2, snapping his stretch of 21 consecutive scoreless innings. Javier struck out four and walked a pair over five innings against the Rays. He will face the Blue Jays for the first time.
Left-hander Steven Matz (4-2, 4.78 ERA) will start for the Blue Jays. He is coming off his second consecutive losing decision, having allowed five runs on seven hits and one walk with six strikeouts over five innings in a 5-4 loss to the Oakland Athletics on May 3.
Matz opened the season by earning the victory in his first four starts. He will make his first career start against the Astros and is 2-1 with a 4.03 ERA in four starts against the AL West.
Already ravaged by injuries to their bullpen, the Blue Jays lost right-hander Rafael Dolis with right-calf tightness after he made just 10 pitches upon entering the game in the eighth inning on Friday.
Dolis will undergo an MRI on Saturday to determine the severity of his injury.
Dolis entered the series fifth among AL relievers with a .075 opponent batting average. The revolving door of relievers has made juggling innings especially challenging for Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo, who only received 3 2/3 innings from starter Ross Stripling on Friday. Stripling was charged with three runs.
“The one thing that he did he kept us in the game with no command,” Montoyo said of Stripling. “We have to keep him in there because we don’t have enough pitching to cover that many innings. Yeah, he’s got to give us more than that, but he deserves credit for keeping us in the game.”
–Field Level Media