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Stroman settles in after quick-pitch hiccup

Blue Jays righty strikes out five in complete game, gives 'pen a rest
MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- The Blue Jays needed a win, and some rest for their bullpen, and starting pitcher Marcus Stroman delivered both with a complete-game victory Sunday against the Angels.

Stroman was efficient for nine innings, making 99 pitches to lead the Blue Jays to a 6-2 win over the Angels at Angel Stadium. With the dominant performance, Stroman became the first pitcher in the Major Leagues with a pair of complete games this season.

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ANAHEIM -- The Blue Jays needed a win, and some rest for their bullpen, and starting pitcher Marcus Stroman delivered both with a complete-game victory Sunday against the Angels.

Stroman was efficient for nine innings, making 99 pitches to lead the Blue Jays to a 6-2 win over the Angels at Angel Stadium. With the dominant performance, Stroman became the first pitcher in the Major Leagues with a pair of complete games this season.

View Full Game Coverage

"That's why I work as hard as I do," Stroman said. "That's why I put in that extra amount of work in between starts. I think it's good for my guys. It gives our bullpen a day off, lets guys rejuvenate, get healthy down there. I think it gives our offense a little bit more inspiration, going deep. That's my goal, each and every time."

Devon Travis sparked things with a two-run home run in the eighth, his first of the season, while Kevin Pillar homered later that inning to extend his hit streak to 11 games. Ryan Goins added a two-run shot in the ninth.

Video: TOR@LAA: Pillar smacks a solo homer in the 8th

"I think the biggest thing was Stroman out there dealing, under 100 pitches, 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's success Sunday did not come without adversity.

In the bottom of the third, Stroman was called for an illegal quick pitch to Kole Calhoun in a 3-1 count with two outs, which resulted in ball four and gave the Angels their first baserunner of the inning. Stroman was upset with the call and manager John Gibbons was ejected after a discussion with the umpires. Stroman then allowed consecutive singles to Mike Trout and Albert Pujols as the Angels pushed across the game's first run.

Video: TOR@LAA: Gibbons gets ejected in the 3rd inning

"There was no reason for it," Stroman said of the call on the quick pitch. "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."

After the run-scoring single by Pujols, Stroman retired 17 batters in a row before Pujols doubled with one out in the ninth.

"I've never seen anything like that in my life," Travis said of the call against Stroman. "Stro kept his composure all day today. It was really impressive to see Stro let his emotions out, take a deep breath and go back out there and get the job done."

Stroman has given the Blue Jays a complete game in two of his last three starts. He had a 100-pitch complete game April 12 in a losing effort vs. the Brewers. On Sunday, Stroman had his two-seamer working down in the zone and was able to get 10 outs on the ground.

"He's got that ability," Gibbons said. "He gets so many ground balls, he can bail himself out, get two quick outs. Complete games shouldn't be a big deal for him necessarily. Stro is a great competitor. He's an emotional guy. But he's got the stuff, it may not be complete games, but there's no reason he shouldn't be able to go seven, eight [darn] near every time he goes out there."

With the bullpen still recovering from Friday's win over the Angels in 13 innings, which saw six relievers used, Stroman knew he needed to give the 'pen a breather.

"Going nine, you're able to save guys a whole day; it's hard to put how important that is down the road," he said. 

Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. He covered the Blue Jays on Sunday.

Toronto Blue Jays, Marcus Stroman