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Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Whit Merrifield turns a double play over Houston Astros second baseman Mauricio Dubon during the sixth inning. The Astros won 8-1 on April 19, 2023, in Houston.The Associated Press

Luis Garcia tied a career high with nine strikeouts in seven shutout innings, Jeremy Pena capped a six-run eighth with a three-run homer and the Houston Astros defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 8-1 on Wednesday night.

Mauricio Dubon extended his career-long hitting streak to 14 games with a single in the eighth that started Houston’s two-out rally. Alex Bregman singled, and Yordan Alvarez walked before Jose Abreu hit a two-run single. Kyle Tucker followed with an RBI single before Pena launched his third home run of the season into the Crawford Boxes.

Jake Meyers hit a two-out, two-run double in the second to give Houston a 2-0 lead.

Garcia (1-2) scattered two hits and walked one. He lowered his ERA from 7.71 to 5.14.

The right-hander retired 11 of the first 12 batters he faced. He struck out six of the first seven batters.

Garcia had allowed at least three runs in each of his first three starts while going no more than five innings in any of them.

After Garcia exited, the Blue Jays jumped on Rafael Montero in the eighth with a single by Alejandro Kirk and RBI double from Whit Merrifield before Kevin Kiermaier and Nathan Lukes walked to load the bases and end Montero’s night.

Bryan Abreu, however, ended the threat, inducing a George Springer lineout before striking out Bo Bichette and getting a flyout to center from Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Jose Berrios (1-3) surrendered two runs on three hits with three strikeouts in seven innings. Berrios pitched well for a second straight outing after allowing 14 runs over his first two starts.

Trainer’s room

Astros: RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (right elbow strain) threw off flat ground again on Wednesday.

Pitch clock violations

Guerrero was called out on strikes in the first inning for a pitch clock violation. Merrifield was also issued a pitch clock violation in the fifth for the second strike of the at-bat. Bichette was issued a pitch clock violation to start his at-bat in the eighth.

Up next

Blue Jays: Following an off day on Thursday, the Blue Jays will take on the Yankees in New York on Friday in the first of a three-game series. The starting pitchers for Friday’s game had not yet been announced.

Astros: After an off day Thursday, the Astros start a three-game series in Atlanta against the Braves on Friday, with RHP Hunter Brown (2-0, 1.93 ERA) taking the mound opposite RHP Bryce Elder (2-0, 1.53 ERA).

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