McCullers hurt, Astros held to one run in loss

McCullers hurt, Astros held to one run in loss

HOUSTON -- One night after going 14 innings with the Astros only to lose in walk-off fashion, the Blue Jays got the best of Houston, 2-1, on Tuesday night, thanks to solo home runs from Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.

Astros right-hander Lance McCullers exited the game in the top of the fifth with discomfort in his right elbow after surrendering Bautista and Encarnacion's homers in the third and fourth innings, respectively. It was the first time he allowed multiple homers in a game this season.

"Never good to walk out with any of your players walking off the field with a trainer," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "That was a definite bummer."

Toronto's R.A. Dickey, who at 41 is 19 years older than the 22-year-old McCullers, kept the Astros' offense at bay for most of the night. He went seven innings, allowing only one run -- on an RBI single from Astros catcher Evan Gattis -- while striking out five.

The Blue Jays needed a long start from Dickey, as they entered the game with five of their eight relievers unavailable following a pair of back-to-back extra-inning losses. He came through.

"He was fantastic," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We desperately needed that, and he was as good as you can be tonight. ... A lot of swing-and-miss. He had good life on his knuckleball. That's kind of one of those things that comes and goes with him, but he was aggressive with it. He was throwing a ton of strikes. That's the key."

Dickey's strong start

The win snaps an eight-game losing streak for the Blue Jays at Minute Maid Park, where they have a 3-13 record. The Astros have now lost six of their last eight.

Mr. 300: Bautista gave the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead in the top of the third with a solo shot to left field. According to Statcast™, Bautista's 14th of the year was projected to travel 402 feet and left his bat at 110 mph, for his hardest-hit home run of the season. The no-doubter to left also was the 300th home run of Bautista's career. He is the 10th active player to reach that milestone, joining Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre, Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira and Ryan Howard. More >

"It's always a friendly reminder that you've been doing this a long time and you've enjoyed some success -- you get happy about that, no doubt," Bautista said. "But right now we've got more important things to worry about, and I'll get to enjoy that in the offseason."

Must C: Bautista's 300th homer

Meet Joe: It probably wasn't how Joe Musgrove envisioned his Major League debut, but the rookie right-hander was more than ready when called upon. McCullers' injury paved the way for the 6-foot-5 Musgrove to enter the game in the fifth, and he excelled on limited notice after being called up on Monday. Musgrove, who is normally a starter, retired the first 10 batters he faced and struck out eight in 4 1/3 innings, the most strikeouts by a reliever in his debut in franchise history.

"I had a little adrenaline going before," Musgrove said, "but as soon I got out there, I felt at home and just felt comfortable." More >

Musgrove's dazzling MLB debut

The Ed-Wing: Encarnacion, not to be outdone by Bautista, hit a solo shot of his own in the top of the fourth inning. He is now three home runs from No. 300, and one away from hitting at least 30 in five consecutive seasons. Carlos Delgado is the only player in Toronto franchise history with more consecutive seasons of 30-plus homers (eight). According to Statcast™, Encarnacion's 29th homer of the season was projected to travel 405 feet and left his bat at 104 mph.

McCullers hurt: McCullers has been a dominant force at home this season, allowing three runs or fewer in each of his 20 career starts at Minute Maid Park. That streak continued, but at a cost. With the Astros trailing, 2-0, McCullers came up hurting in the top of the fifth. He left the game with right elbow discomfort after going 4 2/3 innings and striking out six, allowing both of the Blue Jays' home runs.

"I just felt a little bit of discomfort," McCullers said. "That's why the trainers came out, and we just decided to err on the side of caution. Just get out of there." More >

McCullers exits the game

"I was tired. I was winded by the time I got [to the mound], but I tried to calm down the best I could and just do what I do." -- Musgrove, on jogging out from the bullpen in his debut

"That eighth inning was something special for that kid, and that should be the story of the game in my mind. To come in and face those hitters, in that situation, one-run game, it was just phenomenal. I felt so happy for him." -- Dickey, on rookie Danny Barnes, who tossed a scoreless eighth inning in his big league debut. Barnes retired George Springer, Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa.

Barnes' first career strikeout

The Blue Jays improved to 28-23 on the road, the highest winning percentage in the American League.

The first of two challenges came in the top of the second. Toronto's Michael Saunders led off the inning with a slow roller that McCullers ended up snagging and bouncing to first baseman A.J. Reed. Initially, Saunders was called safe, but Hinch challenged the call, and it was successfully overturned after a 55-second review.

McCullers nabs Saunders at first

Another challenge came in the top of the third. Josh Donaldson hit a liner to left field and tried to turn it into a double, but Colby Rasmus threw him out at second for his 12th outfield assist of the season. The Blue Jays challenged the call, but it stood after review.

Rasmus' throw nabs Donaldson

Blue Jays: Right-hander Marco Estrada will take the mound when the Blue Jays continue their four-game series against the Astros at 8:10 ET on Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park. Estrada has been dealing with soreness in his lower back for the last month, but he continues to pitch through the pain, and he allowed three earned runs over six innings during his last start, vs. the Orioles.

Astros: Collin McHugh will face the Blue Jays on Wednesday night in an 7:10 p.m. CT start, and the right-hander is looking to rebound from one of his worst starts of the season. In McHugh's last start, he surrendered 10 hits and eight runs to Detroit in 1 2/3 innings, handing the Astros a deficit they ultimately couldn't overcome.

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Jordan Ray is a reporter for based in Houston.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.