(SportsNetwork.com) - The Houston Astros try to run their win streak to four in a row as they entertain the Toronto Blue Jays in the third test of a four- game set at Minute Made Park.
The surprising Astros are not only sitting in first place in the American League West, they are tied for the best record in the league with Kansas City and hold a 4 1/2 game lead over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the division standings, thanks in large part to a stellar 12-4 mark on the road.
At the moment the team is in the midst of a nine-game homestand, with the Oakland A's set to visit beginning Monday. Last night the team shot down the Jays in an 8-4 final thanks to the efforts of Dallas Keuchel, who ran his record to 5-0.
Keuchel did give up four runs on eight hits and three walks, while striking out five over six innings, but he received more than enough run support from the Houston bats to keep his record unblemished.
Jake Marisnick, Preston Tucker and Jose Altuve all tallied a pair of hits, the latter hitting one of three home runs for the hosts as he plated three. Also going deep were Luis Valbuena and George Springer.
"Every time we hit two or three homers we're going to score runs, and with our pitching staff, we're going to have a lot of chances to win games," said Altuve.
Toronto, which is three games under .500, yet only four games out of first in the AL East, saw Danny Valencia and Chris Colabello both deliver a pair of hits in the Friday loss, while the latter was one of only two players in the batting order not to strike out.
R.A. Dickey's record dropped to 1-5, his ERA jumped to 5.76, as he gave up seven runs on 10 hits in only five innings of action.
"I felt like I had, at times, a really good knuckleball," Dickey said. "All of a sudden, it would get pounced on. A ball rolled through the hole and the next guy hits a home run and it snowballs ... It can be really infuriating."
Coming out as a starter once more for the Blue Jays is Marco Estrada. Moved into the starting rotation when Daniel Norris went down with an injury, the right-hander from Long Beach State is hoping to put an end to a two game slide when he clashes with Houston.
Estrada's most recent outing saw him throw a season-high five innings against Baltimore on Monday, giving up three runs on five hits - two home runs - and two walks. Estrada still came out on the losing end of the 5-2 decision even as he struck out a season-best four.
Estrada, who broke into the majors with Washington in 2008, is 1-0 with a 3.04 ERA in nine all-time appearances against Houston.
Countering for the Astros is Scott Feldman, a 30th-round pick of the Texas Rangers in 2003, who is dealing with a two-game losing streak. He last took the hill on Sunday versus the Angels on the road where he made it through seven innings, giving up three runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out five. Unfortunately, for the second game in a row and the third time this season, the offense supplied just a single run for the Houston cause.
The right-hander has a career mark of 2-4 with a 5.08 ERA in 14 appearances against Toronto, eight of those being starts.