Blue Jays manufacture runs in Morrow's rough start
Astros push across seven runners against righty; Gose, Davis deliver sacrifice flies
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Chris Carter walloped a pair of two-run home runs in consecutive at-bats, and the left fielder drove in five runs to back a strong outing by starter Bud Norris and send the Astros to an 11-2 win over the Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium.
Carter, acquired from Oakland in last month's Jed Lowrie trade, drove in a run on a fielder's choice in the first inning before hitting a long homer to left-center in the third off Brandon Morrow. Carter hit another long homer to left field in the fifth to put the Astros ahead, 7-2.
"I don't really think about hitting home runs that much," Carter said. "I try to make solid contact and whatever happens, happens. If I have four or five, that's good, but if I hit one or two that's fine, too."
Morrow allowed seven hits and seven runs (six earned) in 4 2/3 innings in his fourth start of the spring.
The Blue Jays played small ball to push across two runs in the third, getting help from the top of the order. Outfielders Anthony Gose and Rajai Davis each hit sacrifice flies, cutting the deficit to 5-2.
Jason Castro homered to center field to lead off the sixth inning for his fourth homer of the spring, and Brandon Laird added his fourth Grapefruit League homer to extend the lead to 9-2.
Jake Elmore doubled to drive in Tyler Greene -- who had just reached on an error that allowed Trevor Crowe to score -- in the eighth inning for the Astros' 11th run of the game.
Norris, making his fourth start, became the first Astros pitcher to throw six innings this spring when he held the Blue Jays to three hits, two runs and two walks to keep Houston's strong run of starting pitching going. Lucas Harrell threw four hitless innings Saturday.
"The pitch count is going to get up there, but it's the up and downs for me," Norris said. "But they felt good, and it's good to get back out there and throw eight warmup pitches and attack every inning. The strength is coming and we've got time to build on it."
Blue Jays up next: Following an off-day Monday, the Blue Jays will host the Astros on Tuesday afternoon at 1:05 in Dunedin. Newcomer Mark Buehrle will make his fifth start as a Blue Jay, as the southpaw looks to build off his strongest outing of the spring his last time out when he allowed just one run over 3 2/3 innings Wednesday against the Pirates.