HOUSTON -- R.A. Dickey carried a shutout into the seventh inning and benefitted from a pair of solo home runs in the Toronto Blue Jays’ 2-1 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park.
Dickey (8-12) baffled the Astros (56-50) until surrendering a one-out double to Carlos Gomez in the seventh, the first extra-base hit he allowed. Two batters later Evan Gattis delivered an RBI single to right field to score Gomez but Dickey recovered to retire catcher Jason Castro
Dickey allowed just one run on six hits with five strikeouts. Dickey had surrendered a total of 17 earned runs over his last three starts, but he reversed course by not issuing a walk for the first time this season. It marked the fifth time Dickey allowed one earned run of less in 2016.
Jose Bautista clubbed his 300th career home run with two outs in the third inning and Edwin Encarnacion followed with a leadoff homer in the fourth off Astros right-hander Lance McCullers (6-5), who departed in the fifth inning with right elbow discomfort.
Toronto right-hander Danny Barnes made his major league debut in the eighth inning and worked around a two-out single from Astros second baseman Jose Altuve. Jason Grilli earned his second save with the Blue Jays (60-47) by retiring the side in order in the ninth.
Things started swimmingly enough for McCullers with only a two-out walk to Devon Travis in the second slowing his charge out of the gate.
But McCullers surrendered three hits in the third inning, needing a nifty double play started by third baseman Alex Bregman to clear the bases ahead of Bautista, whose line-drive homer to left field spotted the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead. McCullers needed his defense to escape that inning when left fielder Colby Rasmus erased Josh Donaldson as he attempted to stretch a single into a double.
One batter into the fourth, Encarnacion doubled the Blue Jays’ lead with his 29th home run of the year, a booming, 405-foot shot to left field. McCullers recovered to strike out the side but not before surrendering a pair of two-out singles.
After inducing a groundout from Donaldson for the second out in the fifth inning, McCullers departed with an injury.
McCullers allowed seven hits and one walk during his abbreviated start, getting six strikeouts before giving way to rookie Joe Musgrove.
NOTES: Astros 1B A.J. Reed was recalled from Triple-A Fresno to replace RHP Luke Gregerson, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique strain. Reed batted .156 with two home runs and four RBIs in 17 games after his June 25 big league debut. He was optioned to Fresno on July 21. ... Blue Jays SS Troy Tulowitzki missed a second consecutive game with a chip fracture in his right thumb. Tulowitzki played catch before the game, but he is having problems gripping the bat. ... The Astros will select RHP James Hoyt to the major league roster on Wednesday with RHP Doug Fister going on the paternity list for the birth of his first child. Hoyt is 4-3 with a 1.62 ERA and 28 saves in 45 games with Triple-A Fresno, logging 84 strikeouts and 17 walks in 50 innings. ... RHP Ken Giles will now close for the Astros, supplanting All-Star RHP Will Harris. Giles has not allowed a run in his last 14 appearances and has 23 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings. Harris has blown three of five save opportunities since the All-Star break. ... The Blue Jays recalled RHP Mike Bolsinger, acquired on Monday from the Los Angeles Dodgers, and selected the contract of RHP Daniel Barnes. INF Ryan Goins and RHP Bo Schultz were optioned to Triple-A Buffalo.