(SportsNetwork.com) - Despite his perfect record on the season, Toronto's Drew Hutchison will look to get deeper into his start on Thursday night as the Blue Jays kick off a four-game set with the Houston Astros.
Hutchison is 3-0 through seven starts even though he is pitching to a 6.69 earned run average and has gone longer than five innings just twice this season.
The right-hander is coming off a 7-1 win over Boston on Saturday as he gave up a run on seven hits and one walk over five innings. He also struck out six, one off his season high.
"Hutch did a great job today," noted Jays second baseman Devon Travis. "He pounded the zone and came at all the hitters."
Hutchison was hammered in his only previous career start against the Astros, giving up four runs in just three innings of work while getting a no-decision.
The Blue Jays have lost three of their past four games and dropped a 6-1 decision to the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday. Miguel Gonzalez threw 7 2/3 strong innings for the O's, holding the Jays to one unearned run and retiring 13 straight at one point.
"He's always tough on us," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "He moves the ball around."
Toronto starter Aaron Sanchez took the loss, his first in four starts, after giving up five runs, seven hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings.
The Astros seek a second straight victory tonight after the return of George Springer to the lineup boosted them to a 4-3 win over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday.
Springer, activated from the 7-day disabled list Wednesday after being cleared from a concussion he sustained while making a running catch last week, hammered a full-count fastball for a tie-breaking homer in the eighth inning.
"I was thinking to get something up in the zone and hit it hard," Springer said.
Houston had battled back from a 3-1 deficit on solo homers from Jason Castro and Luis Valbuena in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively, and split the two-game set with the Giants. It was just their third victory in nine games as well.
The Astros also had to overcome an injury shortened start from Brett Oberholtzer in his season debut. The left-hander was removed after just three innings due to a blister on his pitching hand, the same injury that landed him on the DL to begin the campaign.
Roberto Hernandez seeks to rebound from a tough-luck loss last time out as he gets the call for the Astros.
The veteran righty was on the wrong end of a 2-0 decision to the Los Angeles Angels on Friday, giving up both runs on six hits and zero walks over 7 2/3 innings. It was his longest start of the season and marked his fifth straight outing of at least six innings.
"He threw the ball very well," said Astros manager A.J. Hinch. "Roberto made pitches and kept us in the game."
Still, Hernandez is just 1-3 on the year despite a solid 3.86 ERA and 3-3 lifetime versus the Blue Jays with a 4.24 ERA in 10 games (9 starts).
The Astros have won four of their past five against the Blue Jays.