03/10/12 4:28 PM ET
Bautista in form with two HRs in victory
Snider also connects as Blue Jays overpower Astros
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
Bautista got the Blue Jays started in the third inning with a deep shot well over the wall in left field. The two-run homer was Bautista's first of the spring and came off Astros starter Zach Duke.
Snider added to the lead in the fourth with a solo shot that easily cleared the wall in right field and landed on the mesh screen that protects the Blue Jays' bullpen. It was Snider's third home run of the spring as he continues to make a strong case for the starting job in left field where he is competing against Eric Thames.
That was it for Duke, who was charged with three runs on six hits and one walk while striking out two in his first start of the Grapefruit League season.
Bautista added another solo shot in the fifth with a mammoth home run to center field. The ball bounced off the upper portion of the batter's eye screen in straightaway center and helped secure Toronto's second win in as many days against the Astros.
"I think what we're seeing is the hitters' timing is starting really to become a lot more consistent," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "To see Jose turn on a 1-1 fastball in and then get a fastball out over the plate and what he's capable of doing is special, as we know.
"We've put up a number of quality at-bats during a period of time here, I think it speaks to the athleticism of the players that we have here."
Right-hander Dustin McGowan made his first start of the spring and was relatively flawless for the Blue Jays. He threw a perfect first inning and then surrendered just one hit in the second before his afternoon came to an end. McGowan, who is expected to be the Blue Jays No. 5 starter, finished his two innings with zero earned runs, one hit and one strikeout and touched 93 mph on the radar gun with his fastball.
Up next for Astros: Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who led the Astros in wins last year, makes his second start of the spring when the Astros return to Kissimmee, Fla., to play the Detroit Tigers at 12:05 p.m. CT Sunday. The game should also mark the spring debut for infielder Angel Sanchez, who injured his back early in camp and has been cleared to play.
Up next for Blue Jays: The Blue Jays are set to play a pair of split-squad games against the Braves on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. ET. One group will travel to Lake Buena Vista, Fla., with right-hander Kyle Drabek getting his second start of the spring while Joel Carreno, Drew Carpenter, Nelson Figueroa and Jerry Gil are also expected to pitch. In Dunedin, No. 1 starter Ricky Romero will get the call followed by Chad Beck, Jason Frasor, Darren Oliver, Chad Jenkins and Jim Hoey.