HOUSTON — Toronto’s Aaron Loup is normally a ground ball pitcher.
That certainly wasn’t the case on Friday night.
Loup gave up a homer and a double on his first two pitches to allow the Astros to break a tie and get a 3-1 win.
Gregorio Petit’s first career home run put Houston on top in the eighth inning and the Astros held on for the victory, snapping Toronto’s six-game winning streak.
Petit launched Loup’s first pitch into the first row of the Crawford Boxes in left field to give the Astros the lead. Jose Altuve connected on the next pitch by Loup (3-3) for a ground-rule double before stealing third base.
Houston got an insurance run on a sacrifice fly by Robbie Grossman that ended Loup’s night.
“When was the last time you’ve seen three balls barrelled off Loup in a row? He’s a ground ball guy but he didn’t get any ground balls,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said.
Loup wasn’t sure why he struggled.
“I threw two pitches and the next thing you know I give up a home run and a double,” he said. “I guess it just wasn’t my day today.”
Jose Veras (1-1) got the last two outs of the eighth inning for the win and Chad Qualls threw a scoreless ninth for his 12th save.
Melky Cabrera singled with one out in the first and reached third on a single by Jose Bautista that crashed off the wall in left field and knocked a number out of the scoreboard there. The Blue Jays took a 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly by Dioner Navarro.
Toronto starter J.A. Happ gave up three hits and one run with six strikeouts in seven innings.
Happ retired the first 11 batters he faced before Chris Carter singled on a dribbler with two outs in the fourth inning. Matt Dominguez drew a walk before Carter scored on a single by Guzman to tie it at 1-1.
Houston starter Collin McHugh did not factor into the decision after allowing five hits and a run in 6 1-3 innings to remain winless since June 3.
Jake Marisnick, acquired Thursday from the Marlins as part of a six-player deal that sent right-hander Jarred Cosart to Miami, went 0 for 3 in his Houston debut.
The game was delayed in the third inning when the Astros complained about the mound being too soft. Three members of the grounds crew came onto the field with rakes and other tools and worked on it for several minutes.
McHugh threw a few warmups pitches after they finished and the crowd cheered as the workers walked off the field and the game continued.
The Astros had a bit of fun teasing rookie pitcher Mike Foltynewicz about his difficult to spell last name on his first day in the clubhouse after being called up from Triple-A on Friday. They used tape to spell his name phonetically (Fultynevichz) and affix it to the nameplate above his locker. He got a good laugh out of the ribbing and said there’s no trick he can give them to help make spelling it easier. “I had trouble when I was younger, too,” he said. “I don’t think anybody’s going to really get it right … they can just keep it nice and short and call me Folty.”
Blue Jays: Infielder Brett Lawrie (broken right index finger) began a rehabilitation assignment with Class A Dunedin on Friday. Gibbons said he will probably need at least a week of rehab games before he’s ready to return to the team.
Astros: Rookie OF George Springer, on the disabled list since July 20 with strained left quadriceps, is inching closer to his return. “He’s taking batting practice,” manager Bo Porter said. “He was able to do the outfield work (Friday). So we’re pretty excited that he’s coming along well.”
Guzman left the game after the fourth inning with back spasms. He was replaced at 1B by Jon Singleton.
Toronto’s R.A. Dickey looks for his third straight win when he opposes left-hander Brett Oberholtzer when the series continues on Saturday. Oberholtzer is coming off a win over the A’s when he allowed three runs in 6 2-3 innings.