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Stroman fades in 5-run 5th, toasts Bautista

Blue Jays split 2-game set vs. Mets; Morales homers on 3-hit night
July 4, 2018

TORONTO -- Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman might have looked like his old self after returning from the disabled list late last month, but Wednesday's outing against the Mets proved that he still has some work to do.Stroman opened with four strong innings but saw his outing fall apart in

TORONTO -- Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman might have looked like his old self after returning from the disabled list late last month, but Wednesday's outing against the Mets proved that he still has some work to do.
Stroman opened with four strong innings but saw his outing fall apart in the fifth, when New York sent 10 batters to the plate. When it was all said and done, Stroman was charged with six runs on six hits and four walks over 4 2/3 innings in a 6-3 loss at Rogers Centre.
The 27-year-old Stroman entered this start on a roll. He had allowed just one run over his previous two outings after returning from a right shoulder injury, and earlier Wednesday, manager John Gibbons spent a large chunk of his media availability talking about how the Stroman of old was back. He wasn't, at least not in the finale of a two-game set vs. the Mets.
"My body feels great, my shoulder feels good, that honestly was the bigger concern," Stroman said. "Just frustrating going out there when I know that I can be better than that and when I don't execute like I should, or am capable of."

Stroman entered the fifth inning having allowed just one run on 51 pitches. He seemed to be on the verge of a deep start for a Blue Jays team that needed it after veteran starter Marco Estrada was limited to 12 pitches the night before because of a glute injury. That plan unraveled in the fifth inning.
Mets third baseman Todd Frazier delivered the first blow with a two-run shot to center. Former teammate Jose Bautista and Asdrubal Cabrera followed later in the frame with a pair of RBI singles, and Stroman was pulled after facing eight batters in the frame. Right-hander Luis Santos was brought in from the bullpen, but it was too late for the Blue Jays as they lost for the eighth time in 18 games.

Another troubling sign for Stroman was his four walks. He entered this game averaging 3.5 walks per nine innings, which would be a career high. It was one of his biggest problems this season before he hit the DL on May 8 with a 7.71 ERA, and that lack of command returned vs. New York. It was the biggest difference from his previous two starts, when Stroman walked just one over 12 innings.
"There were some command issues tonight, primarily with his breaking ball," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He bailed himself out with a couple of nice double plays. I can't say he was rolling along, but he was effective, and then they got to him in the fifth inning. He left some balls up and threw a lot of pitches in that inning. So it was kind of a mixed bag."
Stroman's struggles overshadowed a productive day for designated hitter Kendrys Morales, who finished 3-for-4 with a double and his ninth home run of the season.

Catcher Russell Martin also had a three-hit night, but for the most part, Toronto's offense was held in check by Corey Oswalt and four Mets relievers. Oswalt allowed two runs over four innings, then Seth Lugo helped bridge the gap to the back end of New York's bullpen with three innings.
"I just didn't have a feel for anything today," Stroman said. "From pitch 1, to be honest with you. I walked the first batter. That's super uncharacteristic of me. I just had trouble getting my grip on pitches, but it is what it is and I just look forward to the next one."
• Lourdes Gurriel Jr. gave the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead in the fourth with an RBI single. He added an RBI groundout in the sixth inning and now has 13 RBIs in his first 24 career games.

• Martin became one of seven active players in the Majors with at least 500 hits in both the American and National Leagues. Martin had a three-hit game for the third time this season, and he reached base four times for the second game this year.
For the second consecutive day, Bautista received a standing ovation from the Rogers Centre crowd, and this time he also got some applause from the opposing pitcher. Stroman warmed up to "Trophies" by Drake, which Bautista used for a long time as his walk-up song. When Bautista stepped to the plate in the first inning, Stroman graciously stepped off the mound so the fans could honor the former Blue Jays star, and the Toronto right-hander even clapped into his own glove to do the same. Bautista finished with the bragging rights as he chipped in with an RBI single off Stroman in the top of the fifth. Bautista finished the day 1-for-5.
"I love Bau," Stroman said. "From the bottom of my heart, he is a huge friend, role model, mentor of mine from the very beginning. I respect and value him in my life, for not only teaching me things about baseball but about life in general. He's someone I go to when I'm going through things, and like I said, he is a true friend. I love Bau. I'll continue to reach out to him whenever and he will be a lifelong friend of mine."

"Everything's just up a little bit from what I've seen in the past. From a pitching coach's perspective, for him to have his good sinker and his good slider, he's got to make sure he gets the ball down. That's kind of how he lived in the past, and what his success was all about, was getting guys to chase below the zone. He's probably leaving a few more pitches up in the zone, and things like that." -- Mets manager Mickey Callaway, on Stroman's outing
The Blue Jays will open a three-game series against the division-rival Yankees when right-hander Sam Gaviglio (2-2, 3.97 ERA) takes the mound on Friday (7:07 p.m. ET) at Rogers Centre. Gaviglio has surrendered three runs in each of his past three starts, but only one of those outings has lasted more than five innings. New York will counter with struggling right-hander Sonny Gray (5-6, 5.44).

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