TORONTO (AP) — After being hit hard in the first inning, Blue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez settled in and silenced the Astros.
Russell Martin hit a go-ahead, three-run home run in the sixth, Sanchez pitched seven innings to get his first win in three starts and Toronto beat the Astros 4-2 Saturday, stopping Houston’s winning streak at four.
Josh Donaldson also homered for the Blue Jays, who have won seven of their last nine meetings with the Astros.
Houston’s Jose Altuve had two hits, a double and a triple, giving him 997 for his career.
Sanchez (12-2) gave up two runs and three hits in a shaky first inning, then shut Houston down over the next six frames for his first win since July 25 against San Diego. He allowed two runs and five hits.
“It seemed like they were just going to jump on the heater early in counts,” Martin said. “We kind of had to mix it up a little bit, throw some more breaking balls and some off-speed. He did that. Once he shows he has the ability to do that, it kind of takes away some of the aggressiveness.”
Sanchez lowered his ERA to 2.84, second in the American League to Kansas City’s Danny Duffy (2.82).
“He probably had the best curveball I’ve seen him have consistently,” manager John Gibbons said. “He turned it into a great outing.”
Jason Grilli pitched the eighth and Roberto Osuna finished for his 26th save.
Carlos Correa hit a two-run double in the first as the Astros had three straight opposite-field hits.
“They slapped three balls to right field in a hurry,” Sanchez said. “I just knew something had to change there.”
Donaldson cut the deficit in half with a solo homer off Collin McHugh in the bottom of the first, his 28th.
Houston missed a chance to add to its lead in the second, when A.J. Reed led off with a double. Third base umpire Jeff Nelson ruled that Tony Kemp’s one-out liner had landed fair, but Toronto challenged and the call was overturned after video review. Kemp grounded out and George Springer struck out to end the threat.
“Replay helps us more than it hurts us, but that’s where I wish they would have taken away replay for a day,” manager A.J. Hinch said.
McHugh left after back-to-back singles by Edwin Encarnacion and Michael Saunders in the fifth. James Hoyt came on in relief and got Troy Tulowitzki to ground out before Martin homered, his ninth.
“The game turned on a dime with one swing,” Hinch said. “(Hoyt) made one bad pitch and it cost us three runs.”
McHugh (7-10) lost his fourth straight start, with two of those losses coming against the Blue Jays. He allowed three runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings.
“There’s really no give in that lineup,” McHugh said.
Osuna matched Terry Forster’s MLB record by recording his 46th career save before his 22nd birthday. “I’m looking for more,” said Osuna, whose 22nd birthday is not until February. Osuna has converted 13 consecutive opportunities.
BRUSH WITH THE LAW
While chasing Donaldson’s foul popup in the third, Houston 1B Reed crashed into a police officer sitting by the stands, knocking her to the ground. Neither Reed nor the officer was injured, and both laughed off the incident.
Altuve has reached safely in 43 straight road games, tying Jeff Bagwell for the second-longest streak in team history. Bagwell also holds the record for the longest streak, reaching safely in 51 straight road games in 1999.
Astros: Altuve started at DH with Marwin Gonzalez at 2B.
Astros: RHP Mike Fiers (8-5, 4.46) has struck out 18 batters while walking four over his past three starts.
Blue Jays: RHP Marcus Stroman (8-5, 4.76) took the loss in an Aug. 1 start at Houston despite allowing one run in seven innings. He’s winless in three outings.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on the situation after shots were fired in a Raleigh mall (all times local):
The owner of a clothing store at a busy North Carolina mall says he saw a shooting unfold after an argument in the food court and that he heard as many as four shots.
Antonio Richardson is the owner of Casanova, a clothing store in Crabtree Valley Mall.
He told The Associated Press that he was standing at the entrance to his store Saturday afternoon when he saw two men who appeared to be in their early 20s arguing in the food court.
He says he saw one of them pull out a gun and begin shooting. As he was running away, he says he heard as many as four shots in all.
Raleigh police have said in a statement that no suspects have been arrested and that arriving officers found no one with any gunshot wounds.
Police responding to a shooting at a busy mall in Raleigh say they haven’t found anyone with gunshot wounds.
The Raleigh Police Department issued a statement saying that officers responded to the mall about 2:30 p.m. on Saturday to reports of shots fired.
They say no suspects have been arrested.
Eyewitnesses describe a chaotic scene after the shots were fired.
Witnesses say they hid in stores until police led them out.
Police in North Carolina have responded to a shooting at a busy mall in an affluent area of Raleigh.
Multiple news outlets report that police in Raleigh were working to secure Crabtree Valley Mall on Saturday afternoon after gunshots were fired inside.
The station says no suspects have been taken into custody.
The number of injured is unknown, although emergency personnel apart from police were called to the scene. Helicopters buzzed overhead.
John Riggleman and Kristin Warring told The Associated Press that they were heading to a video game store when they heard shots coming from the mall’s food court. They ran into the store with dozens of others before the doors of the mall were locked.
Warring said she heard an additional series of shots.
Police told them they could leave the store at about 3 p.m.
An interstate exit to reach the mall was closed.
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Katie Ledecky came into the Rio Olympics facing enormous expectations.
Some athletes might’ve buckled under the pressure.
She seemed to thrive on it.
The 19-year-old from suburban Washington capped off one of the greatest performances in Olympic history with her fourth gold medal and second world record, shattering her own mark in the 800-meter freestyle Friday night.
“I just wanted to lay it all out there,” Ledecky said.
She certainly did that.
Ledecky and Debbie Meyer are now the only female swimmers to sweep the three longest freestyle races. Meyer took the 200, 400 and 800 at Mexico City in 1968.
In recent days, Meyer’s been texting with Ledecky’s’ mom, Mary Gen.
Before the 800, the former swimming great sent along a video message that was forwarded to Katie.
“I try not to think about the history much,” Ledecky said. “But joining Debbie in that history is incredible.”
She also followed fellow swimmers Amy Van Dyken and Missy Franklin as the only American women to win as many as four golds in a single Olympics. Along with her individual golds, Ledecky also topped the podium with the 4×200 free relay. For good measure, she earned silver anchoring the 4×100 free relay, showing the sort of speed that has only recently become part of her repertoire but bodes well for her branching out even more in the future.
“I hit all my goals right on the nose this week,” Ledecky said.
Four years ago, she seemingly came out nowhere to capture gold as a 15-year-old at the London Games. Then, after her coach moved to the West Coast, Ledecky hooked up with Bruce Gemmell and never missed a beat.
She called it “a testament to the vision that Bruce and I had three years ago when we set these goals, and we weren’t going to stop until we met them.”
As was the case in the 400 free, where she crushed her own world record, Ledecky was merely racing the clock as she powered away from the field to touch in 8 minutes, 4.79 seconds, eclipsing the mark of 8:06.68 that she set at a grand prix meet in Texas back in January.
“The goal was 8:05 or better,” she said.
Naturally, she was better.
Then, Ledecky played the waiting game, hanging on the rope for a while to let the rest of the field finish.
Jazz Carlin of Britain finally touched in 8:16.17 to claim silver, just ahead of Hungary’s Boglarka Kapas grabbing bronze in 8:16.37.
“It’s tough when you’ve got such an incredible athlete in your event and someone who breaks world records every time she swims,” Carlin said.
Some 23 seconds after Ledecky touched the wall, the last of the eight finalists chugged to the end of the grueling race.
Ledecky was barely breathing hard.
“What she’s doing in the sport is ridiculous, it’s insane,” said Michael Phelps, the 22-time gold medalist who plans to retire again after his final race on Saturday. “She’s obviously someone I’m very excited to look forward to watching race.”
Ledecky rarely shows her emotions, maintaining the sort of even keel that works so well in the pool.
On the medal stand, though, she finally broke down in tears.
She was surely thinking about all the work she put in to make it there, not to mention all the changes to come as she gets ready to head off to college.
“I think it’s the first time in my life I’ve ever seen true emotion come out,” Phelps said.
But Ledecky is eager to get on to the next phase of her life.
After putting off college for a year to focus on the Olympics, she’ll head to Stanford in the fall and join fellow U.S. teammates Simone Manuel and Leah Smith. Ledecky is not sure yet what she’ll study, but she’s looking forward to being just another college freshman.
“It’s going to be exciting,” Ledecky said. “I am heading home in a couple of days and I’ll have to get all my stuff for my dorm and get everything ready. It’ll be tough leaving home, but I’m excited for the next chapter.”
She shared some tears with Gemmell, the coach who stepped in so seamlessly after the London Games and was so instrumental to her success.
“He doesn’t cry very often and I don’t cry very often,” Ledecky said. “It was just a very happy moment and it’s been incredible to share that journey with him.”
She’s in no hurry to turn professional and cash in on her success.
“I’ve really enjoyed being an amateur,” Ledecky said. “I think there are some pressures that come with being a professional swimmer, and I don’t think I am ready for that.”
She was sure ready for Rio, though.
Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/paul-newberry .
SANAA, Yemen (AP) — The International Committee of the Red Cross has called for the release of a French-Tunisian female staffer abducted in Yemen in December.
The agency says a video is currently circulating that shows Nourane Houas, who has been held since Dec. 1. It asked media outlets not to share the video out of respect for her family.
The group called on her captors to release her unharmed, and to show “compassion and respect for human dignity.”
No group has claimed responsibility for the abduction. In May, France 24 TV said it obtained a video recorded a month earlier showing Houas asking President Francois Hollande “to save me from near death, as soon as possible.”
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — Rutgers University in New Jersey says an employee who placed a student in a headlock won’t face criminal charges.
Spokesman E.J. Miranda tells NJ.com (http://bit.ly/2bkW3SH ) the student involved in the July 20 encounter hasn’t been responsive to multiple requests from authorities.
The scuffle occurred during a board of governors meeting prior to a vote on tuition. It was captured on video by the student newspaper, the Daily Targum.
While the board was in closed session, the student began reading documents prepared for board members and ignored requests from the staff member to return the papers. The video shows the staff member chasing the student around a table and wrapping his arms around his head and chest.
Rutgers hasn’t disclosed the name of the employee, a facilities staff member.
Information from: NJ Advance Media.
HAVANA (AP) — Fidel Castro greeted his 80th birthday from his sickbed, gripping a newspaper to show he was alive two weeks after stepping down as president.
For the next 10 years the leader of the Cuban revolution watched from home as his brother Raul granted Cubans new economic freedoms and declared detente with the United States after a half-century of hostility.
When Fidel Castro turns 90 on Saturday, the man who nationalized the Cuban economy and controlled virtually every aspect of life on the island will celebrate his birthday in a far different country than the one he ruled.
Hundreds of thousands of Cubans are running private businesses, buying and selling their homes and cars, and checking the internet on imported cellphones. Castro’s greatest ally, Venezuela, is in economic free-fall, cutting the flow of subsidized oil that Cuba has depended on. Tens of thousands of Cubans are emigrating to the United States, hollowing out the ranks of highly educated professionals.
The island’s brightest economic hopes lie in a post-detente surge in tourism that is expected to boom when commercial flights to and from the United States, Cuba’s longtime enemy, start again Aug. 31.
“The future lies with the young people and young Cubans aren’t waiting for things to come to them,” said Ernesto Gonzalez, a 25-year-old dance producer. “There’s much more information than there was 50 years ago and this opening to the world, this new boom, Cuba as a top trending topic, makes us young people see things from a different perspective, in terms of developing this country and ourselves.”
It’s an uncertain time, with no settled consensus around Castro’s legacy. The government and its backers laud his nationalism and his construction of a social safety net that provided free housing, education and health care to every Cuban. Less is said about decades of economic stewardship that, along with a U.S. trade embargo, has left Cuba’s infrastructure and its economy cash-strapped and still dependent on billions in aid from abroad.
The Cuban government has taken a low-key approach to Castro’s birthday. There are no big rallies or parades planned, no publicly announced visits by foreign dignitaries. Government ministries have held small musical performances and photo exhibitions that pay tribute to Fidel. An island-wide performance by children’s choruses is the biggest event announced for Saturday.
The government hasn’t even said if it will release photos or video of Castro, who last appeared in public in April, closing the twice-a-decade congress of the Cuban Communist Party with a call for Cuba to stick to its socialist ideals in the midst of normalization with the U.S.
His voice quavered but he appeared vigorous and healthy for a man of 89, whose long absences from the public eye have provoked speculation about his health ever since complications from gastrointestinal surgery forced him to hand power to his brother.
“Soon I’ll be 90, something that never would have occurred to me,” said Castro, the survivor of years of close-range fighting during the revolution and dozens of U.S.-sponsored assassination attempts after his victory. “Soon I’ll be like all the others. Our time comes for all of us, but the ideas of the Cuban communists will endure.”
That’s an idea that receives a qualified endorsement from many Cubans, who are deeply disenchanted with the paltry salaries, shortages and paralyzing inefficiency that remain hallmarks of Cuba’s centrally planned economy.
Many Cubans today openly describe themselves as capitalists, and say time has proven that Castro’s economic ideas do not work. But others praise Cuba’s low crime, its health and educational benefits, its investments in making cultural activities and sports available to all, and its support for putting family and friends before work obligations.
“The revolution has made a lot of mistakes but the Cuban people are believers in Fidel because his ideas were noble,” said Marisel Avila, a 49-year-old singer. “We have to lift up our economy, without selling ourselves, without denying our history, but we can’t live in the past, either.”
Michael Weissenstein on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mweissenstein
Associated Press writer Andrea Rodriguez contributed to this report.