Reimold plays hero with 10th-inning walk-off double
Stroman brilliant over nine in duel; Navarro sends game to extras
TORONTO -- It was a pitchers' duel, but neither starter factored into a decision as the Blue Jays topped the Tigers with a walk-off win on Saturday. Marcus Stroman and Max Scherzer went back and forth, each putting together a dominant performance and a quality start, but it was Nolan Reimold who emerged the hero in extra innings.
The outfielder delivered a walk-off double against reliever Joba Chamberlain in the 10th inning as the Blue Jays edged the Tigers 3-2 at Rogers Centre.
"I feel good. I was happy to get the chance to come through," said Reimold, who took an 0-2 slider to the wall in left-center field to score the winning run. "The whole team played a great game, Stroman pitched awesome, so it's a good team win."
After a ninth-inning collapse the night before, the Blue Jays were in need of some late-innings magic, a sentiment manager John Gibbons had expressed earlier in the week.
Down 2-1 in the ninth, Toronto grinded out the tying run after Jose Reyes singled to lead off the inning against closer Joe Nathan, who was saddled with his sixth blown save. The speedy shortstop swiped second, moved to third on a sac fly and scored on an RBI single from Dioner Navarro to keep the Blue Jays in the game.
Aaron Loup took over for Stroman and worked through the 10th, setting the table for the bottom half that saw Danny Valencia single to start off the inning that led to Reimold's heroics.
"Our two new guys came through for us in that last inning, which was big. It was a great day all the way around. It was really the only way to end it," Gibbons said.
Not lost on anyone was Stroman's brilliant outing, and although he didn't get the win, he became the first Blue Jays rookie since 2004 to pitch nine innings. He allowed two earned runs on four hits, while walking three and fanning four.
Stroman, who was coming off an ugly loss to the Astros on Sunday, didn't tire as he recorded his 10th quality start. The 23-year-old said he had a good feeling his team would be able to pull out their fifth walk-off victory of the season.
"Everyone was super confident in the dugout. Guys kind of had a buzz about them that knew we were going to get the job done and it ended up working out," Stroman said. "As everything was unfolding, I was just sitting there excited."
Scherzer, meanwhile, continued his dominance over the Blue Jays despite not earning the win. He was still touching 97 mph in the eighth, and he went eight innings while allowing one earned run on four hits with 11 strikeouts.
It was his 17th quality start of the season and his fourth in as many outings. Scherzer has a 4-0 career record at Rogers Centre.
The opposing right-handers cruised through the opening 5 2/3 innings, allowing no runs and a pair of hits each. But with two outs in the fifth, both Stroman and Scherzer ran into trouble.
After retiring two in a row to open the inning, Stroman gave up a single to Ian Kinsler before walking Miguel Cabrera. Victor Martinez then slashed an outside fastball to the left-field corner, driving in both runners to break the scoreless tie and put Detroit up, 2-0.
Scherzer also stumbled in the sixth after recording back-to-back strikeouts to begin the frame. Reyes singled up the middle before Melky Cabrera brought him home with a double to deep left-center field to give the Blue Jays a run and some life.
But Jose Bautista, who entered the contest a career .571 hitter against Scherzer, went down on three straight pitches and the Tigers escaped with a one-run lead that lasted until the bottom of the ninth.
"He's good. He's pretty unreal," Stroman said of his counterpart. "I definitely felt like I had to pick myself up after he -- he was throwing 97 [mph] in the eighth by guys. He has another gear, too. "
Scherzer was equally complimentary of Stroman's performance.
"He's a terrific pitcher. He's got a lightning quick arm and he's got nasty stuff," Scherzer said. "To have only a handful of starts in the league and already look like that, he's going to be something special."
The win gives the Blue Jays their seventh win in their last 10 games at home as they improved to 4-1 against the Tigers on the season.