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Toronto at Houston

Scoreboard
Toronto (8-13)002000000242
Houston (9-11) «30202112x11120

Astros 11, Blue Jays 2

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KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) - Chris Carter had two home runs and five RBIs for the Astros in Sunday's 11-2 win over Toronto Blue Jays, helping boost his chance to earn Houston's starting job in left field.

Carter hit two-run homers in the third and fifth innings against Brandon Morrow, raising his spring training total to four. He also hit into a run-scoring forceout in the first.

"I don't really think about hitting home runs," Carter said. "I just try to make contact, and whatever happens, happens. ... As far as timing and the swing, this is best I've felt this year."

Houston's starting outfield likely will have Justin Maxwell in center and Rick Ankiel in right. The 26-year-old Carter was acquired from Oakland on Feb. 4 in the trade that sent Jed Lowrie to the Athletics.

"Early in the spring, it looked like Carter's timing was off a little and the pitchers were ahead of the hitters," new Astros manager Bo Porter. "As you an see, the hitters are starting to catch up. We knew once his timing got down, he has power to all fields and he's very capable of doing what he did today consistently."

Maxwell doubled and tripled off Morrow, who gave up seven runs - six earned - and seven hits in 4 2-3 innings.

"I've never had an opening day (job) other than the minor leagues, so it's definitely exciting," the 29-year-old Maxwell said.

Maxwell has 27 home runs in 534 major league at-bats over parts of four seasons, the first three with Washington.

"The way you get comfortable is when you have that experience of playing every day," he said. "You get familiar with the ballparks, you get familiar with the pitchers that you face and then you start making your adjustments within that. That's definitely the way to establish yourself at the big league level."

He hit .229 with 18 homers and 53 RBIs for the Astros last year.

"Just getting a chance to play, being able to showcase myself, I hadn't had that opportunity before," he said. "I'm just looking to get better and trying to improve my game every year, if not every day."

Jason Castro hit a solo homer in the sixth against Brett Cecil, and Brandon Laird had a solo drive in the seventh off Claudio Vargas.

Houston's Bud Norris allowed three hits and struck out five in six innings, giving up consecutive sacrifice flies by Anthony Gose and Rajai Davis in the third. Erik Bedard followed with one-hit relief, striking out five in three innings.

NOTES: Houston optioned RHP Paul Clemens, OF Robbie Grossman, LHP Dallas Keuchel, OF Jimmy Paredes and INF Jonathan Villar to Oklahoma City (PCL).The Astros reassigned LHP Sergio Escalona, RHP C.J. Fick, OF Che-Hsuan Lin, C Carlos Perez and RHP Josh Zeid to their minor league camp. ... Houston RHP Philip Humber, a strong candidate to be in the Astros' rotation, is to pitch a simulated game Monday.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Players of the Game
Houston

C. Carter
AB 3
R 3
H 2
HR 2
RBI 5
Toronto

M. McCoy
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 0
RBI 0
 

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Toronto Blue Jays
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Anthony Gose, CF1001110 .324
    Lance Zawadzki, SS1000011 .267
Rajai Davis, LF2001001 .188
    Ryan Schimpf, LF1000010 .136
Luis Jimenez, 1B4010010 .200
Andy LaRoche, 3B3000001 .250
    Eugenio Velez, 3B1000000 .300
Ryan Langerhans, RF3000020 .281
    Jonathan Jones, CF0000000 .000
Josh Thole, C3000020 .115
    Santiago Nessy, C0000000 .000
Mike Nickeas, DH3010010 .241
Jim Negrych, 2B1110100 .455
   a- Marcus Knecht, PH-RF1000001 .000
Mike McCoy, SS-RF3110012 .150
    Jonathan Berti, 2B0000000 .000
Totals27242210  
a-popped out for Negrych in the 8th
Batting
2B - Mike Nickeas (2, Bedard), Mike McCoy (1, Norris)
SF - Anthony Gose (1), Rajai Davis (1)
RBI - Anthony Gose (3), Rajai Davis (5)
Team LOB - 2
Fielding
DP - Jimenez-McCoy
E - Jonathan Jones (1, Dropped fly), Mike McCoy (4, Throwing)
Toronto Blue Jays
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Brandon Morrow (L,0-2) 4.2776212 7.45
Brett Cecil 1.1211011 6.35
Claudio Vargas 1111101 5.63
Justin Germano 1221020 7.36
Pitches-Strikes - Brandon Morrow 34-24, Brett Cecil 9-8, Claudio Vargas 8-4, Justin Germano 12-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brandon Morrow 7-5, Brett Cecil 3-0, Claudio Vargas 2-1
Batters Faced - Brandon Morrow 22, Brett Cecil 6, Claudio Vargas 5, Justin Germano 6
Houston Astros
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jose Altuve, 2B3110101 .317
    Jacob Elmore, 2B1011000 .214
Rick Ankiel, DH3010001 .419
   a- Nate Freiman, PH-DH2000001 .265
Carlos Pena, 1B2110100 .273
    Brandon Laird, PR-1B2211011 .353
    Jose Martinez, 1B0000000 .333
Chris Carter, LF3325000 .238
    Brandon Barnes, LF-RF1000000 .360
Justin Maxwell, CF3121110 .194
Jason Castro, C3111001 .435
    Jason Jaramillo, C1000001 .267
J.D. Martinez, RF4010000 .237
    Trevor Crowe, PR-LF0100000 .318
Matt Dominguez, 3B3000000 .286
   b- Brett Wallace, PH1000011 .286
    Marwin Gonzalez, 3B0000000 .294
Tyler Greene, SS4110010 .147
Totals361112934  
a-grounded out for Ankiel in the 7th
b-struck out for Dominguez in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jacob Elmore (2, Germano), Carlos Pena (3, Morrow), Justin Maxwell (3, Morrow), J.D. Martinez (3, Germano)
3B - Justin Maxwell (2, Morrow)
HR - Brandon Laird (4, Vargas), Chris Carter 2 (4, Morrow, Morrow), Jason Castro (4, Cecil)
RBI - Jacob Elmore (2), Brandon Laird (9), Chris Carter 5 (11), Justin Maxwell (4), Jason Castro (9)
2-OUT RBI - Chris Carter 4 (6), Justin Maxwell (2)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - T. Greene-Altuve-Pena, Altuve-Laird
Houston Astros
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Bud Norris (W,2-0) 6322250 5.52
Erik Bedard (S,1) 3100050 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Bud Norris 38-29, Erik Bedard 20-20
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Bud Norris 4-7, Erik Bedard 1-3
Batters Faced - Bud Norris 21, Erik Bedard 10
Game Information
Attendance - 4751
Game Time - 2:27
Temperature - 74
Umpires - Home - Sam Holbrook, First Base - Jeff Nelson, Second Base - UMP Nonindividual, Third Base - Laz Diaz