Stroman lights-out as Blue Jays coast to win

Stroman lights-out as Blue Jays coast to win

TORONTO -- Marcus Stroman stole the show on Wednesday night in Toronto, shutting down the Orioles to give the Blue Jays a 4-0 win, evening their series at one game apiece.

The right-hander gave the Blue Jays 7 2/3 scoreless innings with a career-high 119 pitches, allowing just five hits and a walk while striking out eight. Most of the balls the Orioles did manage to put in play were manageable for the defense behind him, with 11 groundouts compared to just two flyouts.

Stroman K's Schoop

"I work extremely hard between starts to put my body in a position where I'm able to go deep into games and maintain velocity," said Stroman, who walked off the field to a standing ovation. "I credit that to the work that everyone puts in. The training staff, the strength and conditioning staff here has been unbelievable. My body feels great. I feel like I could have went another inning, another two innings. I feel great where I'm at right now."

Stroman avoids shattered bat

Jose Bautista kickstarted the offense for Toronto on the second pitch he saw in the bottom of the first inning, sending it over the wall in right for a rare opposite-field home run. The home run was the first to lead off a game by the Blue Jays this season.

Bautista's leadoff home run

Baltimore starter Wade Miley allowed four runs -- three of which were earned -- over his five innings of work. The left-hander's pitch count climbed quickly to 109 due to four walks and some deep counts, but he did manage to force a pair of timely double plays.

"With games like this, it looks like Miley didn't pitch well and he'll probably be a little disappointed," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who added that Miley could have easily been charged with just two earned runs were it not for a defensive miscue in the fourth. "Usually when you hold a team to two runs you like your chances."

Smoak keeps on rolling: Justin Smoak continued to bolster his case for an All-Star appearance in the bottom of the third with a 430-foot homer to centre field. It was Smoak's 21st home run of the season, which is a new career high for the 30-year-old. With that, he also set a new high for home runs by a Blue Jays switch-hitter before the All-Star break. The previous high of 20 was set by Jose Cruz Jr. in 2000. More >

Smoak's solo home run

"It's great," Smoak said of the new career high. "But more importantly we won the ballgame tonight and I helped us out there. You always want to get career highs and I was able to do that tonight."

Not pretty, but it counts: Bautista kept driving the offense in the fourth with the bases loaded and two outs. He rolled a ground ball to Paul Janish at shortstop, but the toss to second was not in time to get Kevin Pillar at second. This allowed Kendrys Morales to score from third, and he was followed by Steve Pearce for a second run when Bautista beat the throw to first base. An error was charged to Jonathan Schoop on the throw.

Two Blue Jays score on error

"A dangerous team, a tough team to shut down. ... We needed that. We needed that game desperately." -- Blue Jays manager John Gibbons

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Bautista's home run in the first was his first to the opposite field since September 12, 2015, in New York. It was his first leadoff home run of the season and the ninth of his career. He also moved into a tie for fourth place on the club's all-time RBI list with 737.

Miley has thrown over 100 pitches in 13 of his 16 starts, and now leads Major League Baseball with 19 2/3 pitches per inning. His teammate, Kevin Gausman, who pitched the series opener on Tuesday, is second with 19 1/3.

With a runner on first and one out in the third, Stroman forced a ground ball from Seth Smith and the Blue Jays appeared to escape the inning with a double play. The call was quickly overturned by a replay review, however, which showed that Smith just beat the throw from Darwin Barney to first base.

Smith ruled safe after review

Orioles: Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (2-3, 7.26 ERA) will close out the series for Baltimore on Thursday night at 7:07 p.m. ET. The veteran has struggled with home runs this season, allowing two or more long balls in six of his 15 starts this season.

Blue Jays: Left-hander J.A. Happ (2-4, 3.83) will take the mound when this series wraps up on Thursday night. Happ has allowed three runs or less in all but one of his five starts since returning from the disabled list on May 30.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Keegan Matheson is a reporter for based in Toronto.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.