DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Jose Bautista and Troy Tulowitzki homered and Aaron Sanchez tossed 4 2/3 strong innings in the Blue Jays' 7-2 victory over the Astros on Friday afternoon at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.Bautista's second homer of the spring came in the third inning off Houston starter Doug Fister. The
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Jose Bautista and Troy Tulowitzki homered and Aaron Sanchez tossed 4 2/3 strong innings in the Blue Jays' 7-2 victory over the Astros on Friday afternoon at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.
Bautista's second homer of the spring came in the third inning off Houston starter Doug Fister. The three-run shot was a no-doubter over the wall in left field and came on a 2-0 pitch to give the Blue Jays an early 3-0 lead they would not relinquish.
"Those guys are good hitters," Fister said. "They take the bad pitches and hit them out. It was a bad pitch. It wasn't a bad called pitch, it was a poorly executed pitch."
Toronto had another rally off Fister in the bottom of the fourth. Justin Smoak sparked the rally with a leadoff single, and Ezequiel Carrera then followed with a double to the corner in right field. Both runners later scored, on a grounder and then a single by Kevin Pillar.
Fister was charged with five runs on six hits and one walk while striking out three over his 3 2/3 innings of work. He has now allowed nine runs on 16 hits in 11 2/3 innings of work this spring. Friday's start was Fister's first outing since he briefly left Astros camp after experiencing a bout with the flu earlier this week.
Sanchez made yet another strong impression in his bid for the final spot in Toronto's starting rotation. The promising 23-year-old limited the Astros to one run on two hits and two walks while striking out five. Sanchez consistently hit 96 mph on the radar gun and also mixed in some impressive curveballs, but at times, he lacked command of the offspeed.
"They're going to make the decision on who they feel best fits the team in that spot," Sanchez said. "I'm going to go out there and execute pitches, worry about what I need to do to get better. At the end of the day, I feel like if I continue to do those things, everything is going to shake out the way it should, and that gives them the best read on what they feel is the right decision.
"When that time comes, I'll be ready regardless of what it is. They know what I want to know, I think everybody knows what I want to do. It's just a matter of what's going to make our team the best going into April."
Houston's lone threat against Sanchez came in the top of the fourth inning when Marwin Gonzalez led off the frame with a double to left-center field. Gonzalez later advanced on a wild pitch and then scored when Tyler White lifted a sacrifice fly to right. Matt Duffy later added an RBI double in the eighth inning off of Brett Cecil.
Up next for the Blue Jays: Right-hander Gavin Floyd will take the mound when the Blue Jays host the Phillies in a 1:07 p.m. ET start on Saturday at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, shown on MLB.TV. Floyd is expected to throw four or five innings and will then be followed on the mound by Arnold Leon, Roberto Osuna, Ryan Tepera and David Aardsma. Floyd is competing with Sanchez for the final spot in the rotation while Leon and Tepera are competing for spots in the bullpen.
Up next for the Astros: Following Saturday's off-day, the Astros will return to action Sunday in Clearwater, Fla., against the Phillies at 12:05 p.m. CT. Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who is slated for the rotation, will make his second Grapefruit League start. He's posted a 2.25 ERA in three spring appearances. The game will be shown on MLB.TV.
Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.