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Stroman stellar during first win of the season

Righty fans 4, holds Tigers to 2 ER over 7 innings
Special to MLB.com

TORONTO -- Marcus Stroman was back to his old ways in the Blue Jays' 3-2 win over the Tigers on Friday night at Rogers Centre. From his pre-pitch hesitations to his mid-pitch shimmy, Stroman's personality was back on display, too.

Stroman tied his season high with seven innings pitched and allowed just two runs on five hits while striking out four. After throwing five shutout innings in his first start off the disabled list last week, the right-hander was aggressive and efficient.

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TORONTO -- Marcus Stroman was back to his old ways in the Blue Jays' 3-2 win over the Tigers on Friday night at Rogers Centre. From his pre-pitch hesitations to his mid-pitch shimmy, Stroman's personality was back on display, too.

Stroman tied his season high with seven innings pitched and allowed just two runs on five hits while striking out four. After throwing five shutout innings in his first start off the disabled list last week, the right-hander was aggressive and efficient.

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"Earlier in the season when I didn't feel like myself, it was kind of hard to mix in varying tempos because I was putting such an emphasis on making the pitch," Stroman said after the game. "Now, I'm back to where everything is coming out easy. I can essentially do whatever I want in my delivery."

The breaking ball was a big pitch for Stroman, which he threw on 33 of his 90 pitches. He opted early to work with his lesser-used curveball, which forced nine of his 13 swinging strikes.

Video: DET@TOR: Gibbons on Stroman's 1st win, strong relief

"I just went away from my slider a little bit to my curveball because I felt like it was more effective, and I felt like it had a bigger break," Stroman said. "I could throw it more accurately behind in the count, or bury it when I needed to. Sometimes, it's hard to have all three spinning pitches between cutter, slider, curveball working, so I usually pick whichever one feels better that day."

Stroman didn't allow much hard contact until the top of the seventh, when Jeimer Candelario took him deep for a solo home run that cut the lead to one. Otherwise, Stroman forced the Tigers to beat pitches into the dirt, which produced 10 ground-ball outs.

Friday also put Stroman back in the win column for the first time since Sept. 24, 2017, Toronto's final home game of last season. With his strikeout of James McCann in the fifth, Stroman became the 21st pitcher in Blue Jays' history to strike out 500 batters. Dave Stieb holds the franchise record with 1,658.

"[Stroman] got knocked down early on and some things were bothering him," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "For his psyche, he's feeling strong now, for us and him. He looks like the old guy."

Seunghwan Oh took over for Stroman in the eighth inning and struck out the side on 18 pitches. Tyler Clippard took the ball in the ninth to earn his fifth save.

Video: DET@TOR: Clippard induces flyout for 5th save of year

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Justin Smoak put the Blue Jays on the board in the bottom of the fourth with his 10th home run of the season, a two-run blast to left field off Francisco Liriano. The 349-footer only had a 31 percent hit probability according to Statcast™.

Video: DET@TOR: Smoak connects with a long?2-run smash

HE SAID IT
"He's got a little strut going … John Travolta." -- Gibbons on Stroman

"I've been listening all last night. It was hard to go to sleep last night because I was listening to it, to be honest with you. Classic again from him." -- Stroman on Drake's new album

UP NEXT
The Blue Jays will send Sam Gaviglio to the mound on Saturday afternoon for Game 2 of their four-game series against the Tigers at 1:07 p.m. ET. Gaviglio has filled in admirably as Toronto deals with injuries in its rotation, but the right-hander hasn't made it through five innings in his last three outings, and he has a 7.50 ERA over that span. With Aaron Sanchez still not throwing as he works back from a finger contusion and Jaime Garcia also on the DL, a strong start from Gaviglio should earn him another start. Detroit will counter with Matthew Boyd.

Keegan Matheson is a contributor to MLB.com based in Toronto.

Toronto Blue Jays, Marcus Stroman