TORONTO — Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve and the Houston Astros put on quite an All-Star performance.
Correa homered twice and drove in a career-high five runs, Altuve got three more hits and the Astros romped into the break, battering the Toronto Blue Jays 19-1 Sunday.
The runaway leaders in the AL West became just the fifth team in the last 40 years to reach 60 wins before the All-Star Game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. They joined the 1998 Yankees, 2001 Mariners, 2003 Braves and this year’s Los Angeles Dodgers, who got there Saturday.
At 60-29, Houston heads into the break with a 16 1/2-game lead over Texas and the Angels.
“I feel like we have a really good team,” Correa said. “From 1 through 9 . we can do damage, so today we showed what we’re capable of.”
The Astros posted the most-lopsided win in team history. Even in the midst of a 14-5 run the last three weeks, manager A.J. Hinch said he felt the break comes at a good time for his club.
“It’s nice to say we should keep this going, but we need as many people to rest up here in the next four days,” he said.
A day after his career-high 15-game hitting streak ended, Correa had four hits. The All-Star shortstop hit the 20-home run mark with his second of the day for his fifth career multihomer game and second this season.
Altuve, a fellow All-Star, and Yuli Gurriel and Evan Gattis also homered for Houston. Altuve had three hits for the fifth consecutive game — he became the ninth major leaguer to do so in more than a century, and the first since George Brett’s record-tying six-game streak for Kansas City in 1976.
Gattis drove in four runs with two hits as Houston scored at least 19 runs for the fourth time in club history.
Brad Peacock (7-1) pitched six innings of shutout ball, holding the Blue Jays to five hits while walking five. After appearing on a 2013 Houston team that won just 51 games all season, the right-hander said the current feeling around the clubhouse makes the struggles worth it.
“Being on those teams makes it a lot more special … and it’s all paying off now,” he said.
Ezequiel Carrera homered with two outs in the Toronto ninth to establish a new career high with seven. The drive denied Houston the chance to top the largest shutout win in team history, 15-0 at Montreal on April 26, 1998.
J.A. Happ (3-6) lasted four innings, matching his shortest outing of the season and picking up his second loss against Houston in eight starts against his former team. The left-hander gave up seven hits and six runs.
“I wasn’t very crisp today and against that lineup especially, you need to be,” he said.
Toronto first baseman Justin Smoak, set to take part in his first All-Star game in Miami on Tuesday night, said it’s important that the Blue Jays (41-47) move past it as quickly as possible in preparation for the season’s second half.
“Anytime you have a game like that you try to flush it pretty quick,” he said. “Hopefully, we have this break here, it’s much-needed for a lot of guys in here, and we’ll be ready to go afterwards.”
MOM KNOWS BEST
On Aaron Sanchez bobblehead day, the Toronto right-hander’s mom induced laughter around the Rogers Centre pregame by shaking off her the first signal from her son, who was doing the catching duties, during the ceremonial first pitch.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
The Blue Jays lost by 10 or more runs for the fourth time this season, with all four coming at home. They had four such games all of last season.
Astros: Hinch announced that former AL Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel will likely have one or two minor league rehab starts after the All-Star break before returning. The left-hander, who successfully threw off a mound before the game, has been sidelined since June 2 with a neck injury.
Astros: RHP Charlie Morton (6-3, 3.82) makes his second start following his return from the disabled list on Friday as Houston hosts Minnesota on Friday.
Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez (0-2, 4.85) will be first up for Toronto following the All-Star break when the Blue Jays visit Detroit on Friday.