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Astros down Blue Jays as Osuna faces former team for first time

Roberto Osuna returned to the mound at the Rogers Centre on Monday night, nearly five months after the embattled former Blue Jays closer was arrested in connection with an alleged domestic incident and charged with assault.

The 23-year-old worked the ninth inning of the Houston Astros’ 5-3 win over the Jays in the opener of a three-game series, the first time the two teams have met since Osuna was traded to the Texas-based club the day before July’s non-waiver deadline.

The Jays’ Richard Urena is forced out at home by Astros catcher Brian McCann during fifth-inning action Monday night at the Rogers Centre.
The Jays’ Richard Urena is forced out at home by Astros catcher Brian McCann during fifth-inning action Monday night at the Rogers Centre.  (Tom Szczerbowski / GETTY IMAGES)

At the time, he was still serving a 75-game suspension handed down by Major League Baseball following an independent investigation into the incident, which allegedly occurred in Toronto on May 8.

Osuna was greeted by boos from the crowd of 23,463 as he exited the bullpen, a trip that was halted by a challenge of the final play in the top of the inning, and the chirps only grew louder as the inning progressed. Shouts like, “How do you live with yourself?”, “Respect women,” and “Think about what you did,” could be heard from the crowd.

If the reception fazed Osuna, he didn’t show it: he gave up a single to Richard Urena but nothing else as he recorded his 19th save of the season.

Osuna is scheduled to appear in a Toronto courtroom on Tuesday. On the advice of his attorney, he did not speak with media at the ballpark pre-game on Monday.

“It was real weird,” Jays manager John Gibbons said of Osuna’s appearance. “Kind of mixed emotions, but I knew there was a good chance he was probably going to get it done. I’ve seen him do it too many times.”

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Osuna’s return is a storyline that was expected to dominate this three-game series, the Jays’ last at home this season and penultimate matchup of the year. So was the battle between brothers Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Yuli Gurriel, who set foot on the same major league field for the first time on Tuesday night. That head-to-head was cut short in the second inning, though, when the younger of the pair, Toronto’s Lourdes, left the game with left hamstring tightness suffered as he grounded into a double play in his first at-bat of the night.

Older brother Yuli had better luck, extending his hit streak to 10 games by going 2-for-4 for Houston. He opened the scoring for the Astros with an RBI single that scored leadoff man George Springer in the first.

The Astros made it 3-0 in the second when catcher Brian McCann and right fielder Josh Reddick hit back-to-back solo home runs off Jays starter Marco Estrada. A double by shortstop Alex Bregman, who set a franchise record by reaching base safely in 52 consecutive road games, scored second baseman Jose Altuve in the third to make it a four-run ball game, but the Jays countered in the fourth with a two-run homer by Kevin Pillar after Justin Smoak had doubled earlier in the inning. Yangervis Solarte, Gurriel Jr.’s defensive replacement, cashed in the Jays’ third run in the fifth inning.

Estrada, a free agent at the end of the season likely making his last start for the Jays, went 4 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on seven hits and a walk. He struck out just one batter. He left the game to a standing ovation from many fans.

Estrada was thankful for his time in Toronto.

“It’s been the best four years of my career. All the love and support I’ve gotten here, I never thought I’d get something like that anywhere,” he said. “This year I struggled but I got a pretty good ovation today, even after a bad start. I hope (the fans) know I love every single one of them.”

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