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Bautista, Tulowitzki go deep, Sanchez strikes out five as Jays top Astros

Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki throws to first for the double play as Houston Astros third baseman Tyler White slides into second base during the second inning on March 18, 2016.

Butch Dill/USA Today Sports

Jose Bautista and Troy Tulowitzki each hit towering home runs to lead the Toronto Blue Jays past the Houston Astros 7-2 on Friday.

Making his first exhibition start in right field, Bautista connected off Doug Fister in the third for a three-run shot that landed in a patch of trees far beyond the left-field fence. Fister gave up a single to A.J. Jimenez and walked reigning American League MVP Josh Donaldson to set up Bautista's second drive of the spring with one out.

"Those guys are good hitters," Fister said. "They do what they do and take the bad pitches and hit them out. It was a bad pitch. It wasn't a bad-called pitch, it was a poorly executed one."

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Tulowitzki went deep against reliever Jandel Gustave in the fifth, driving a solo shot past the scoreboard in left-centre field.

Toronto starter Aaron Sanchez, vying for a spot in the starting rotation, gave up one run in 4 2/3 innings on a sacrifice fly by prospect Tyler White.

Sanchez struck out five and walked two.

"I said this since I got to spring training: I'm going to go out there and execute pitches, worry about what I need to do to get better," he said. "At the end of the day, I feel like if I continue to do those things, everything is going to shake out the way it should, and that gives them the best read on what they feel is the right decision."

Fister, who signed a one-year, $7-million contract in January after spending the last two seasons with Washington, was roughed up for five runs and six hits before being lifted with two outs in the fourth. He walked one and struck out three.

"Obviously, [there is] a lot of room for growth," Fister said. "That kind of keeps me in line for my spring. I have to go through it every day and face those hiccups every day, be able to come back tomorrow and know that I've got some work to do and get back in the bullpen a couple days later."

Before the game, Toronto reassigned outfielder Dalton Pompey, left-handed pitchers Scott Diamond and Wade LeBlanc and infielder Matt Dominguez to minor-league camp. The 23-year-old Pompey won the starting job in centre field out of spring training last year, but struggled with a .193 average in 91 plate appearances before being demoted to triple-A.

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"[He] could probably be on this team, but he needs to be playing every day," manager John Gibbons said. "He needs to be down there every day. He needs to force his way back in here, and once he gets here, he never looks back."

On Saturday, Gavin Floyd will make his third start for the Jays against the Phillies in Dunedin.

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