Astros look to continue June success at Blue Jays

The Houston Astros aim to take their June success into July when they visit the Toronto Blue Jays for a four-game series that opens Monday afternoon.

The Astros moved to a game above .500 for the first time this season on Sunday when they defeated the host New York Mets 10-5 in 11 innings after waiting out a rain delay of two hours and 47 minutes in the ninth inning. It was their ninth win in 10 games.

“After a long rain delay, to kind of see that up and down the lineup, huge win to take the series on a Sunday with kind of the gritty way we did,” said Joey Loperfido, who had a two-run single in Houston’s five-run 11th. “It’s been a great vibe in here postgame.”

The Astros finished June with a 17-8 record, the best in the major leagues for the month. The Mets were next at 16-8.

“I never lost faith in this group,” Astros manager Joe Espada said. “I know that we were down, but we were not out, and I’m not surprised that we are where we are at.”

“It was a goal to get to .500 before the All-Star break,” center fielder Jake Meyers said, “and we’re here.”

The Blue Jays continued their struggles in June, finishing 11-16 for the month after losing 8-1 to the visiting New York Yankees on Sunday. The teams split a four-game series that opened Toronto’s eight-game homestand.

“It’s been a grind for us,” said Toronto right-hander Kevin Gausman, who allowed seven runs in 4 1/3 innings on Sunday. “Obviously, we’re not playing up to the level that we would like to, but there’s nothing we can do but keep showing up.”

Houston is scheduled to start right-hander Hunter Brown (5-5, 4.37 ERA). He is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in one career start against Toronto last June.

Toronto is scheduled to start right-hander Yariel Rodriguez (0-2, 5.94). He has not faced the Astros.

Toronto first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. extended his hitting streak to seven games Sunday with a first-inning single. He was hit by a pitch on the hand in the third inning. He stayed in the game before being replaced by pinch hitter Davis Schneider in the eighth.

“Took (him) out there with where the game was,” Toronto manager John Schneider said. “It was bothering him a little bit, so didn’t want to make it any worse. Hopefully he’s good to go tomorrow and I expect him to be.”

During his hit streak, Guerrero is batting .484 (15-for-31) with five doubles, five homers and 19 RBIs.

Toronto’s George Springer had a single and a walk on Sunday. He is 10-for-16 (.625) with 10 RBIs over his past five games.

With Bo Bichette taking a scheduled day off Sunday, Isiah Kiner-Falefa started at shortstop for Toronto and went 0-for-4 to end a 13-game hit streak.

Houston second baseman Jose Altuve was ejected in the seventh inning Sunday after he was called out on a ball that he thought he fouled off at the plate.

“I understand the guy behind the plate didn’t see it because the catcher’s there,” Altuve said. “But you have another three guys — first, second and third. I felt like it was kind of obvious. That’s why I was so mad.”

Toronto acquired right-hander Yerry Rodriguez from the Texas Rangers on Sunday in exchange for right-hander Josh Mollerus. Rodriguez was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo.

–Field Level Media