TORONTO -- During his first season in the Blue Jays' system, Joe Musgrove thought of what it would be like to pitch at Rogers Centre.On Friday, he had the chance to do so as a member of the visiting Astros -- and he picked up his first career Major League
TORONTO -- During his first season in the Blue Jays' system, Joe Musgrove thought of what it would be like to pitch at Rogers Centre.
On Friday, he had the chance to do so as a member of the visiting Astros -- and he picked up his first career Major League win.
Musgrove, Houston's No. 7 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, stifled Blue Jays batters throughout his second career start and third big league appearance, pitching seven innings of two-run ball in the Astros' 5-3 victory. While Musgrove never had the opportunity to visit Toronto as a farmhand, the young starter found it fitting to pick up his first win against the organization that drafted him 46th overall in 2011.
"It's awesome," Musgrove said about earning his first Major League win in Toronto. "By no means am I trying to do anything against them, I'm just trying to do my job and get us back in the race here. It was definitely nice for me to do it here."
Musgrove limited Toronto's high-powered offense to just six hits, and he showed a sense of poise and maturity in the bottom of the third. After putting runners on first and third to lead off the inning, Musgrove squared off with reigning American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson. With a sellout crowd of 46,330 anticipating a big moment, Musgrove forced Donaldson to ground into a run-scoring double play, limiting the damage and effectively ending the threat of a big inning.
"I notice in stadiums like this, you don't hear any noise, really, all you hear is chatter," Musgrove said. "Big situations, if it gets loud, you just pretend that you're home and pretend that they're rooting for you. I tried to bear down when I got into tough situations and tried to focus on making good pitches, and did just that."
Musgrove had the opportunity to play with several current Blue Jays in the Minor Leagues, including Aaron Sanchez, Roberto Osuna and Kevin Pillar, but a trade near the 2012 Deadline sent Musgrove and a package of other players to Houston in a deal for left-hander J.A. Happ. The 23-year-old has fit in with the Astros' young core of talent, and with Lance McCullers Jr. recovering from a sprained shoulder, Musgrove continues to etch his name into Houston's plans for both this season and beyond.
"Musgrove has been phenomenal, just what the doctor ordered," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "He throws strikes, but he's got good enough stuff to generate some swings and misses and get some punchouts. He's not afraid to let them put the ball in play, either. I think he's solidified himself as a guy who is going to be in our rotation for years to come."
Alykhan Ravjiani is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto.