TORONTO — Aaron Sanchez's return from a lengthy stint on the disabled list was short lived but some different calls from the home plate umpire may have made it a different story.
Sanchez gave up eight runs — five earned — on seven hits and walked four over 1 2/3 innings Friday night as the Toronto Blue Jays fell 12-2 to the Houston Astros.
"I thought there were a lot of close calls out there," Sanchez said. "You know me, I'm not one to complain about stuff, but when it happens over and over it gets tiring. So I'll leave it at that.
"Just one of those nights where things weren't going my way. Felt like if calls were changed a little different, you can approach an at-bat in a different way but it didn't happen. There's no need to stress about it cause you'll go crazy."
The 25-year-old Sanchez has been hampered by right hand issues all season, most recently a blister on his middle finger which had kept him out since May 20.
Sanchez struggled with his command in the early going, walking one batter and throwing 22 pitches in the first inning alone.
Carlos Correa opened the scoring in the first with a two-run homer to deep centre-field — extending his hit streak to 15 games.
Walks continued to be an issue in the second and George Springer made him pay. He belted a pitch to right-field for a three-run shot that extended Houston's lead to 5-0.
An error by Troy Tulowitzki loaded the bases before two more runs came across on a groundout and single. Sanchez's night ended after a two-out double from Evan Gattis made it 8-0.
"You make a mistake, they're hitting it," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "But I don't think it was as bad as his line looked because he was close."
Sanchez entered the game with a 3.33 ERA in five starts but saw that balloon to 4.85 by the end of the night. He finished last season with the best earned-run average in the American League.
Springer finished the game 4 for 4 with five RBI's while belting his 26th and 27th home runs of the season for the Astros (59-28). Altuve went 3 for 5, Correa was 2 for 5 with a home run and two RBI's and Gattis was 2 for 4 with a homer and two RBI's.
Despite the offensive onslaught, Sanchez said he felt great on the mound and didn't think about his troublesome finger once.
"I felt like tonight showed positive signs of where I'm at," he said. "The results weren't there tonight but I felt like it's a step in the right direction in terms of there being no issues with my finger."
Houston starter Charlie Morton was solid in his own return from the disabled list, allowing one run on four hits over six innings and striking out three. Morton had been out since late May with a right lat strain.
Tulowitzki and Ezequiel Carrera hit solo home runs for the Blue Jays (40-46), who had a three-game winning streak snapped.
Tulowitzki got one back for Toronto in the fifth inning with his sixth of the season to deep centre-field which made it 10-1. Carrera hit a solo shot in the ninth.
Gattis launched a long ball into the left-field bullpen to lead off the seventh to make it 11-1. Springer followed two batters later with a solo homer of his own for the seventh multi-home run game of his career.
Notes: Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna was named a replacement player on the American League all-star roster earlier Friday. ... RHP Dominic Leone was optioned to triple-A Buffalo to make room for Sanchez on the Blue Jays' roster. ... Marcus Stroman (8-5, 3.42 ERA) starts for Toronto on Saturday afternoon against Mike Fiers (5-3, 3.80 ERA).
Follow @RyanBMcKenna on Twitter
Ryan McKenna, The Canadian Press