Ronel Blanco throws 1st no-hitter in the majors this season as Astros thump Blue Jays

Ronel Blanco of the Houston Astros threw the first no-hitter in the major leagues this season, blanking the visiting Toronto Blue Jays 10-0 on Monday night.

The right-hander struck out seven and walked two. He walked George Springer to start the game and again with two outs in the ninth. When Vladimir Guerrero Jr. grounded out to end it, Blanco smiled broadly before raising his arms above his head just before being mobbed by teammates.

It was the 17th no-hitter in Astros history and the first in the majors since Philadelphia’s Michael Lorenzen threw one against the Washington Nationals on Aug. 9 of last year.

Houston’s previous no-hitter came about a week before that one when Framber Valdez did it in a 2-0 win over Cleveland on Aug. 1.

Kyle Tucker and Yainer Diaz each homered twice to provide the offence in this one as the Astros won their first game of the season after losing four to the Yankees. Houston’s Joe Espada became the first manager in major league history to get his first win in a no-hitter.

Blanco threw 105 pitches, averaging 93.6 mph with 31 fastballs and also throwing 36 changeups, 34 sliders and four curveballs. The 30-year-old Dominican sailed through the game and didn’t need too many big plays from his defence, although with one out in the ninth, Cavan Biggio hit a grounder to the right side. First baseman Jose Abreu fielded it diving to his right and then, while still on the ground, threw to Blanco covering first for the out.

In the eighth, Alejandro Kirk hit a ball that Blanco deflected, and it rolled away from him. Mauricio Dubon, who had just entered the game for Jose Altuve at second base, charged in and grabbed it before making the throw to first to retire Kirk.

Blanco making 8th career start

Blanco, who had never pitched a complete game as a professional, was making his eighth major league start and had never pitched more than six innings.

The Astros tagged Toronto’s Bowden Francis (0-1) for 10 hits and seven runs in his first major league start.

Altuve hit a leadoff single before Tucker’s shot with one out in the inning made it 2-0. There were two outs in the first when Diaz connected on his first homer to push the lead to 3-0.

Pena’s home run to the seats in left field made it 4-0 with one out in the second.

Chas McCormick doubled with one out in the fourth and scored on a two-out single by Jake Meyers that made it 5-0.

Pena extended the lead to 7 with a two-run single in the sixth.

Yordan Alvarez walked to start the seventh before Tucker homered again to make it 9-0. There was one out in the inning when Diaz connected again, sending one into the seats in right field to push the lead to 10-0.

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