Toronto Blue Jays sent Marcus Stroman to the mound to take on rival Orioles in the first of a three game series.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 20, 2016
Coming off a winning series in Boston, the Toronto Blue Jays faced the Baltimore Orioles, the first of a three game series. Marcus Stroman faced off against Mike Wright in what seemed like the battle of the pitch count.
Marcus Stroman had a strong start against the Baltimore Orioles, his fourth start of the season, making a great throw to Ryan Goins in the second inning to bring on an inning ending double play. On the other side, Mike Wright struggled to find his groove early in the game with over 31 pitches thrown by the second, an inning that opened up the scoring for the Blue Jays, starting with Edwin Encarnacion hitting a single, his eighth hit on the road, and Goins with an RBI groundout.
It was in the third that things opened up for the Blue Jays with Michael Saunders hitting a leadoff double, Jose Bautista hitting a single, and Tulowitzki bringing in both runners on a double bringing the score 3-0 for the Blue Jays. While Stroman did struggle with 29 pitches in the fourth inning, he managed to re-group and settle down using just seven pitches to retire the side in the fifth. he let a run on four hits in six innings. Bottom of the fourth had Manny Machado hitting a home run on a line drive to centre field, putting the Orioles on the board with one.
With a pitching change for Baltimore, Weiters coming out and replaced by Tyler Wilson, Bautista hit a two out double on a sharp line drive to centre fielder Joey Rickard in the seventh, scoring Saunders and holding Josh Donaldson at third as Encarnacion came up to bat, striking out and stranding a pair.
It was in the bottom of the seventh that Baltimore starting closing the gap with Matt Weiters hitting a home run just above the scoreboard in right field, bringing in Mark Trumbo to make the score 4-3 for the Blue jays. The ball did bounce back into the field where Bautista caught it and threw it in. John Gibbons did question the home run, seeking a ground rule double but after review the call on the field stood as a home run.
Stroman left the game in the eighth inning after 101 pitches, bringing in Bret Cecil who struggled early to hit the strike zone. Roberto Osuna took the mound in the eighth as well to close out the inning with a fly ball to centre field. The ninth inning saw Mychal Givens coming in, taking over for Wilson, Pillar popping out to second and Saunders walking. Ezequiel Carrera entered the game, pinch running for Saunders. Carrera stole second and third on a throwing error by Baltimore catcher Mike Wieters. After what looked like two balks by Givens, Bautista lines out to left field. Roberto Osuna picks up his fifth save closing down the Orioles in the ninth, the final score 4-3.
PLAY OF THE GAME :
The play of the game was Troy Tulowitzki‘s double in the top of the third inning, scoring both Saunders and Bautista, giving the Jays a much needed buffer against the hard driving Orioles.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 19, 2016
The game ball goes to Marcus Stroman for keeping the Orioles at bay for eight innings, his third time in four starts pitching seven or more innings.
The turning point came with Matt Wieters home run, bringing the game within one run, the Blue Jays making a pitching change and tightening up their defence to get the win.
The Toronto Blue Jays face the Baltimore Orioles for game two of this three game series at 7:05pm EST Wednesday April 20th.
*Feature Image Credit: under CC BY-SA 2.0
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Catherine Stem is a Blue Jays fan and writer who has combined both of these great things by writing for Jays From the Couch. Through all the ups and downs of baseball, all aspects of the game are explored. Keeping a close eye on the Blue Jays Triple A team, the Buffalo Bisons has also become part of her make-up.