Stroman pitches 7 sharp innings, Jays beat Orioles 4-1
Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (6) fields a ball against the Baltimore Orioles during second inning baseball action in Toronto on Saturday, July 21, 2018. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
By IAN HARRISON
TORONTO (AP) Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman gave up hits to the first three Baltimore batters Saturday.
The Orioles got just two more hits the rest of the afternoon.
Stroman pitched seven sharp innings for his second win in three starts and Toronto beat Baltimore 4-1 for its sixth straight victory over the struggling Orioles.
"He started working both sides of the plate with his sinker and I think that threw them off a little bit, especially late in counts," Blue Jays catcher Luke Maile said. "Overall it was just kind of vintage Stroman."
Baltimore right-hander Alex Cobb picked up his major league-worst 13th loss. The Orioles dropped to 1-8 against Toronto this season.
"I absolutely hate seeing that win-loss in parentheses next to my name," Cobb said. "It's sickening."
Stroman (3-7) allowed one run and five hits. He threw a season-high 107 pitches, the first time this season he has topped 100.
Stroman is 3-2 with a 3.03 ERA in five starts since returning from a shoulder injury that caused him to miss more than a month. He went 0-5 in seven starts before the injury.
"Since he's come back from the DL he's been really good," manager John Gibbons said. "I just think he's pitching like he's always pitched."
Stroman said he's focused on forgetting his early season struggles.
"I know I didn't have the first half I wanted but I've always been someone who prides myself on the second half and finishing strong," Stroman said. "That's something I'll look to continue to do this year."
Friend and teammate Devon Travis likes what he's seen from Stroman since the right-hander returned from injury.
"He's got that fire back," Travis said. "He's really under control. I think he's locking in on every single pitch."
Seunghwan Oh worked the eighth and Ryan Tepera finished for his seventh save in 12 opportunities.
Baltimore scored one run or fewer for the 27th time, the most in the majors.
The first three Orioles batters all singled, although Jonathan Schoop was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double. After Adam Jones gave Baltimore a 1-0 lead with an RBI hit to right, Mark Trumbo grounded into an inning-ending double play.
The Blue Jays answered with a three-run fourth against Cobb, taking advantage of a key Orioles error.
"That's not it in a nutshell but I can understand why that's the focus, a play we haven't been making," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
Randal Grichuk followed with an RBI double, a second run scored on Diaz's double play grounder, and Maile capped the rally with an RBI single.
Diaz had four hits Friday, including the game-winning single in the 10th. He went 2 for 3 Saturday with a pair of singles.
The Blue Jays made it 4-1 in the fifth when Teoscar Hernandez doubled, advanced on a fly ball and scored on Cobb's balk.
Cobb (2-13) lost his sixth straight decision, allowing four runs, one earned, and four hits in five innings. Showalter said Cobb was removed to avoid worsening a blister on his pitching hand.
"I was only going to have a few more pitches going into the sixth so he felt like the risk-reward was not really worth it," Cobb said.
Grichuk made the defensive play of the game, a running catch on the warning track in left center to retire Trumbo for the first out of the ninth.
Jones and Chris Davis got stuck in an elevator at the team's downtown hotel following Friday night's defeat. Jones documented much of the saga on Instagram. The players and fellow passengers were eventually rescued by Toronto Fire Services staff. The sound system at Rogers Centre played a few bars of Aerosmith's `Love in an Elevator' before Jones batted in the fourth inning Saturday.
Toronto won without hitting a home run for just the third time in 26 games this season.
Orioles: Baltimore is expected to demote a reliever when RHP Andrew Cashner (neck) is activated off the 10-day disabled list Sunday.
Cashner (2-9, 4.56) last pitched July 10, when he allowed five runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings against the Yankees. Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (10-6, 4.29) is 0-3 with a 9.75 ERA in three July starts.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
Updated July 21, 2018