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Astros Spring into action early, rout Blue Jays

MLB.com

TORONTO -- Aaron Sanchez's return from the disabled list was a brief and bumpy ride. The Astros handed Charlie Morton an eight-run lead in just the second inning against Sanchez, and they didn't look back in a 12-2 win over the Blue Jays on Friday night at Rogers Centre.

Houston's offensive dominance started from the top of the order and trickled down. Leadoff man George Springer and No. 2 hitter Jose Altuve were both already 3-for-3 by the end of the third inning. Springer's five-RBI night included his 26th and 27th home runs of the season, while Carlos Correa smoked his 18th dinger of the year in the first inning. Evan Gattis added a solo shot in the seventh.

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TORONTO -- Aaron Sanchez's return from the disabled list was a brief and bumpy ride. The Astros handed Charlie Morton an eight-run lead in just the second inning against Sanchez, and they didn't look back in a 12-2 win over the Blue Jays on Friday night at Rogers Centre.

Houston's offensive dominance started from the top of the order and trickled down. Leadoff man George Springer and No. 2 hitter Jose Altuve were both already 3-for-3 by the end of the third inning. Springer's five-RBI night included his 26th and 27th home runs of the season, while Carlos Correa smoked his 18th dinger of the year in the first inning. Evan Gattis added a solo shot in the seventh.

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"We've all hit the ball hard the last four or five games," Springer said after his 4-for-4 performance that also included a sacrifice fly. "You've got to have a plan. Develop a plan and approach, then adjust from there depending on what he's doing. He's got good stuff over there. A lot of those guys do."

Video: HOU@TOR: Springer homers twice, doubles, plates five

Morton was making his own return from the DL after missing six weeks with a strained right lat muscle, and he looked very sharp with plenty of run support behind him. The right-hander gave the Astros six efficient innings of one-run ball, allowing just four hits -- one of them Troy Tulowitzki's homer in the fifth -- and two walks while striking out three.

"We extended him a little further than we expected," said Astros manager A.J. Hinch, "but I thought he was very efficient early. I thought his stuff held through his whole outing, which was key. You get that kind of lead, he was able to settle in a little bit and just use his pitches and pitch to contact quite a bit."

Video: HOU@TOR: Morton goes six strong in return from DL

Sanchez was forced out of the game after recording just five outs on 55 pitches. The right-hander allowed eight runs, five earned, on seven hits, with four walks and no strikeouts. He seemed to disagree with home-plate umpire Dana DeMuth's strike zone at times in the first inning, but some hard contact and an error got the best of him in the second.

"If things go different, maybe I'm not out after an inning and two-thirds. I felt like my stuff was coming out of my hand very easy," said Sanchez. "I had that sink that I had before the [blister] issue, and I think even better. It's just one of those things, I felt like tonight was all over the place in terms of what happened after I let go of the pitch, and those are things I can't control. What I can control is what I'll work on, and all the other stuff, I'll just move on."

• Despite line, Sanchez gives finger thumbs-up

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Correa wastes no time: After the Astros opened the game with back-to-back singles, Sanchez forced a double play, and it looked like he might escape the jam. Correa had other ideas, as he drove a 2-1 fastball slicing over the wall in right-center field. The home run extended Correa's hitting streak to 15 games and put him just four homers shy of his career high, 22, set in 2015.

Video: HOU@TOR: Correa blasts an early two-run homer

Who's got second? With the score at 5-0 and one out in the second, Sanchez forced a ground ball to Tulowitzki that could have been an inning-ending double play. Tulowitzki flipped to Ryan Goins at second, but it appeared that Goins expected Tulowitzki to step on the bag himself and wasn't in place for the throw. Instead of escaping the inning, Sanchez then faced a bases-loaded situation that ended his night early and resulted in three additional runs.

Video: HOU@TOR: Correa reaches safely on Tulo's error

"At the end of the day, it shouldn't happen," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons of the defensive miscues. "They happen sometimes and they all realize it."

QUOTABLE
"No park can hold him right now." -- Hinch, on Springer

Video: HOU@TOR: Hinch on Springer's big night at the dish

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Jose Altuve is the first player in Astros history to have four consecutive three-hit games.

Correa's first-inning home run came against a 96.3-mph fastball from Sanchez, according to Statcast™. That was Correa's 18th home run of the season and 60th of his career, but none have come against a harder pitch than the one on Friday night.

WHAT'S NEXT
Astros: Right-hander Mike Fiers (5-3, 3.80 ERA) gets the matinee start on Saturday at 12:07 p.m. CT. Fiers allowed 18 home runs in his first nine starts, but has completely turned his season around by avoiding the long ball over his last seven outings.

Blue Jays: Marcus Stroman (8-5, 3.42 ERA) will look to bounce back Saturday at 1:07 p.m. ET after a blister on his throwing hand ended his night early on Monday in New York. The 26-year-old threw just 79 pitches over five innings before turning the game over to the bullpen.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto and covered the Astros on Friday.

Dhiren Mahiban is a contributor to MLB.com who covered the Blue Jays on Friday.