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.500 mark in the
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TORONTO -- When Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow is on his game, his stuff can be electric and will often leave opposing hitters handcuffed. He displayed that dominant form in a solid six-inning performance Wednesday night as Toronto defeated the Houston Astros 7-3 at Rogers Centre. Morrow struck out nine batters as the Blue Jays (5-4) locked up their first series win of the young season and moved over the .500 mark in the process. The veteran right-hander was hitting the high 90s with his fastball and retired the first nine batters in order, fanning six along the way. "He was throwing the crap out of the ball ... he was using all of his pitches really (well) and he gave us a real shot to win the game," said Toronto catcher Dioner Navarro. The Blue Jays staked Morrow to an early two-run lead and gave him a 5-0 cushion after five innings. The Astros battled back with three runs in the sixth before Brett Lawrie of Langley, B.C., provided some insurance with a two-run shot an inning later for his first homer of the season. "They stung us there and battled back and got within reaching distance there, so it was good to put us back on top and put it out of reach later in the game," Lawrie said. Melky Cabrera, Maicer Izturis and Navarro had two hits apiece as Toronto outhit the Astros 10-6. Morrow (1-1) struck out the side in the first inning. The Astros didnt put a man on base until the fourth, when leadoff man Dexter Fowler walked and moved to third on Jason Castros one-out single. That didnt faze Morrow -- he struck out cleanup man Jose Altuve and fanned Chris Carter to get out of the jam. "He was throwing a lot of split-fingers and sliders and we were kind of fishing at them," said Astros outfielder Alex Presley. Morrow allowed five hits and three earned runs in his first quality start since May 5th, 2013. It was the first time he had struck out at least nine batters in a game since an 11-strikeout performance against the Minnesota Twins on Oct. 3, 2012. "I thought he was very aggressive tonight and he had that look about him too," said Toronto manager John Gibbons. "I mean he was confident, but thats what hes capable of doing ... its something to build off of." Torontos timely hitting and some poor defensive play by the Astros helped the Blue Jays score three runs in the fifth. Cabrera singled, stole second and scored on a single by Izturis. Jose Bautista walked and the runners advanced when Edwin Encarnacion grounded out weakly to the first-base side. After Adam Lind was intentionally walked to load the bases, Navarro hit a tailor-made double play ball to Matt Dominguez but the third baseman made an errant throw that allowed two runs to score. The Astros did all of their damage in the sixth inning. Fowler singled to centre and Presley followed with a two-run homer to deep right-centre field. Altuve tripled and scored when Carter grounded out. Encarnacion made a nice play at first base by short-hopping a chopper from Marc Krauss and stepping on the bag for the third out. In the bottom of the sixth, Ryan Goins reached on a walk but was later picked off by Williams. Gibbons came out to talk to the umpire but didnt challenge the call as the replays the Blue Jays saw were inconclusive. Triple-A callup Neil Wagner came on in the seventh inning and retired the Astros in order. Lawrie turned on a 2-1 pitch from Josh Zeid, who relieved Williams after he left the game due to a right groin strain. Toronto reliever Steve Delabar recorded one out in the ninth before taking a liner off his lower right leg. He limped off the field and was replaced by Esmil Rogers, who got the final two outs. Announced attendance was 13,569 and the game took three hours nine minutes to play. The Blue Jays will go for a sweep of the three-game series on Thursday night. Notes: Toronto ace R.A. Dickey (1-1) is scheduled to face Houston left-hander Dallas Keuchel (0-1) in the series finale. ... Before the game, the Blue Jays recalled Wagner from the Buffalo Bisons and optioned fellow right-hander Marcus Walden to the triple-A club. ... Izturis was moved from the No. 8 spot to the second position in the batting order. He went 2-for-3 to improve his batting average to .459. ... Toronto split a four-game series at Tampa Bay to open the season before dropping a weekend set to the New York Yankees. ... Delabar said he iced his leg after the game and would probably get the day off Thursday. ... Navarro stole a base in the seventh inning. It was his first steal since a game on Sept. 7, 2009 against the Yankees. Golden Knights Jerseys China . 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"Im excited just for a new start, just to see where things are going, to bring some kind of tradition back to the team and guys being excited about something new," the defensive back said during a conference call Monday after agreeing to stay with the Bombers rather than go to free agency next month. Vegas Golden Knights Pro Shop . -- Derek Jeter says the New York Yankees have no choice but to move forward now that Alex Rodriguez has accepted his suspension for the 2014 season.REGINA - Police have confirmed that former Saskatchewan Roughrider Kory Sheets was busted for pot possession several weeks ago and received an absolute discharge. RCMP say the running back was pulled over outside the southern Saskatchewan community of Estevan for speeding. An officer smelled marijuana and, when asked, Sheets produced two joints and some loose weed totalling 6.4 grams. The one-time CFL player pleeaded guilty to possession of marijuana at a court appearance.dddddddddddd Sheets has made a $300 charitable donation to Students Against Drunk Driving as part of the discharge. Sheets signed an NFL contract with the Oakland Raiders this year. Police say Sheets also received a 24-hour roadside suspension after showing signs of impaired driving when he was pulled over, but there were no charges. ' ' '
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