ANAHEIM -- A dominant performance by Marcus Stroman and a trio of late home runs from Devon Travis, Kevin Pillar and Ryan Goins helped propel the Blue Jays past the Angels for a 6-2 victory Sunday afternoon at Angel Stadium. The win gave Toronto a 2-1 edge in the series
ANAHEIM -- A dominant performance by Marcus Stroman and a trio of late home runs from Devon Travis, Kevin Pillar and Ryan Goins helped propel the Blue Jays past the Angels for a 6-2 victory Sunday afternoon at Angel Stadium. The win gave Toronto a 2-1 edge in the series heading into Monday's finale.
"I think the biggest thing was Stroman out there dealing, and it was just time for the offense to wake up a little bit and I'm just really thankful it worked out the way it did," Travis said.
Stroman needed 99 pitches to work nine innings, striking out five and allowing two runs (one earned) . He's the only pitcher in the Majors this season with two complete games and the first Blue Jay with a complete-game victory of under 100 pitches since R.A. Dickey on Sept. 2, 2015.
"That's my goal, to go nine and give the bullpen a day off," said Stroman, who picked up his first career win against the Angels.
The Blue Jays' offense stalled for much of Sunday's contest, but broke out for six runs in the eighth and ninth. The Angels led for seven innings on a run that was scored after a controversial walk in the third inning that saw Toronto manager John Gibbons ejected from the game.
Gibbons was tossed by home-plate umpire Ramon De Jesus while arguing a call that awarded Calhoun first base on an illegal quick pitch by Stroman, on a 3-1 count. Calhoun would then come around to score the game's first run as Michael Trout and Jose Pujols followed with back-to-back singles against Stroman. Pujols' RBI was the 1,832nd of his career, moving him past Manny Ramirez for sole possession of 18th place on MLB's all-time RBI list.
Angels starter Daniel Wright tossed five scoreless innings in his second Major League appearance and first start of 2017. He exited after 80 pitches, more than he had thrown in either of his two Minor League starts this season, but said he felt like he could have returned for the sixth.
"I'm able to relax out there and kind of throw my game, get into a groove," Wright said of his growing comfort in the big leagues. "My first inning when I was up here I think I tried to do a little bit too much and got out of my game. I've been able to pitch to my strengths in the last few innings I've been up here, so I feel good and I'm ready to keep going."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Illegal quick pitch: The third-inning confusion over Stroman's illegal quick pitch not only cost the Blue Jays their manager for the afternoon, but also handed the Angels an early lead. Per MLB rule 6.02, an illegal quick pitch is scored as a ball when there are no runners on base, as was the case when Calhoun came to the plate with two outs in the third. The pitch in question came on a 3-1 count, which resulted in Calhoun receiving a walk on a pitch that was clearly in the strike zone.
"I got in the box, I looked up, the pitch was already on its way," Calhoun said. "The umpire called a quick pitch on it. To be honest, I really didn't know what ... would happen right there. He told me ball four, so I just went to first base and let them figure it out."
Gibbons walked out onto the field to talk to the umpires and was ejected after a few minutes of discussion. Stroman then surrendered consecutive singles to Trout and Pujols, the latter scoring Calhoun. More >
"There was no reason for it," Stroman said of the umpire's decision. "I didn't really get an explanation as to why I couldn't or shouldn't do it, so that was the only thing why I was a little upset."
Blue Jays go yard: The Blue Jays finally got to the Angels' pitching staff when Russell Martin drew a leadoff walk in the eighth and Travis brought him home with a two-run shot against Angels reliever Deolis Guerra. Travis' first home run of 2017 had an exit velocity of 103.9 mph and a 25-degree launch angle, per Statcast™.
Right-hander Brooks Pounders relieved Guerra, but promptly surrendered a solo homer to Pillar -- which extended Pillar's hitting streak to 11 games -- followed by a triple, a walk and an RBI single to the first four batters he faced in his Angels debut.
Goins stretched Toronto's lead to 6-1 in the ninth with his own two-run homer against Pounders, his first long ball of the season.
"We started out slow and we came to life late," Gibbons said. "We needed it. I figured it was a matter of time. Perfect day for it."
"To get that late in the game, and to be able to get a win, it's just a feel-good moment for the entire team." -- Stroman
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Pujols 1,832nd career RBI not only moved him past Ramirez to 18th place on MLB's all-time RBI list, it also put him in first place for RBIs by a Dominican-born player. His next RBI will tie him with Dave Winfield for 17th place (1,833).
Pujols also collected his 605th career double in the ninth inning, tying Paul Molitor for 12th all-time. More >
Pillar made a diving catch to take a hit away from Calhoun for the third out of the eighth inning. It was a four-star catch, per Statcast™, which calculated a 29 percent catch probability.
"That's what he does," Gibbons said. "It's no shock to us."
Blue Jays:Francisco Liriano starts for the Blue Jays in the series finale against the Angels on Monday night. The left-hander is looking to build off consecutive strong starts. First pitch is scheduled for 10:07 p.m. ET.
Angels: The Angels will hand the ball to right-hander Jesse Chavez in Monday's 7:07 p.m. PT finale. Chavez was the losing pitcher in Friday's 13-inning opener when he surrendered a tiebreaking three-run homer to Bautista.
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**Austin Laymance** is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. He covered the Blue Jays on Sunday.
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. He covered the Angels on Sunday.