Ah, run support.
It’s a fickle thing. One game, you have it, then the next 10 you don’t.
Welcome to Marcus Stroman’s world.
Through 10 starts this season, the Blue Jays starter had been gifted a whopping 10 runs of support. Not exactly the kind of fireworks that win you ball games, even if you rock a tidy ERA like Stroman (2.81)
The Jays starter was hoping for something different on Tuesday night — the second of four games against the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox — and wouldn’t you know it, he finally got his wish.
“Up and down the lineup we put together really complete ABs,” Stroman said after the Blue Jays rocked the Red Sox 10-3 in front of 14,407 at the Rogers Centre on Tuesday night. “I told you all from the beginning, I knew guys would break out at some point. I’m not really worried about the run support. It’s a really long year.”
Back-to-back home runs from Rowdy Tellez and Randal Grichuk in the fourth inning cued a rare offensive outburst for Toronto and Tellez added his eighth homer run of the season for good measure one inning later to collect the first multi-home run game of his career.
The three-fourth inning runs represented the most his team has backed him with since April 19 at Oakland, seven starts ago. And when Tellez unleashed his second bomb of the night — a three-run shot on the heels of his two-run blast — Stroman could officially breathe.
When he came out of the game with an 8-1 lead after facing two batters in the seventh, it was a much-needed change of fortune for Toronto’s hard-luck starter, who has deserved a better fate most nights.
Stroman allowed just one run on five hits, striking out four and walking six, while battling through several threats early in the game.
“He minimized damage,” manager Charlie Montoyo said. “He gave us a chance and I’m glad we scored runs for him today.”
By contrast, Boston’s starter, lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, entered the game with 52 runs of support through 49.2 innings — the most runs-help for any MLB pitcher.
On this night, the tables could not have turned any more distinctly for the starters.
After being held to just one just one hit — a single — through the opening three frames, it looked like more of the same run-support woes were in store for Stroman. But a well-rested Vladimir Guerrero Jr. singled to open Toronto’s half of the fourth and then came a long-lasting fireworks show for the hosts.
First, Tellez cranked one that crashed off the third-deck scoreboard in right, then, one batter later, Grichuk connected for his eighth of the year, a deep smack over the left-field wall and, just like that, it was 3-0. The Jays ran away with it from that point on, with Tellez’ big blasts leading the hits parade.
“It feels really good, obviously. Probably the first meaningful home run I hit all year,” Tellez said. “Just a good feeling. Stroman threw really well. Just a good night all around for everyone.”
Toronto finished with 11 hits as Stroman picked up his second win of the season and first since April 26. Stroman allowed just one run on five hits, striking out four and walking six, while Rodriquez was rocked for six runs and lasted just five innings.
“I think we give him the least amount of run support for any pitcher in baseball, so for us as an offence it’s good to go out there and play well behind a good start from one of our top pitchers,” Tellez said. “For all of us, it was good.”
Mitch Moreland blasted his 13th homer of the season, off Stroman, and Rafael Devers and Jackie Bradley Jr. smacked homers in the seventh and eighth innings, off Joe Biagini and Sam Caviglio, respectively, to supply all Boston’s offence via the longball.
Brandon Drury went 2-for-3 with three RBIs.
LIFE’S A PITCH
Another day, another pitching problem.
Prior to Tuesday’s game, the Jays announced right-handed pitcher Ryan Tepera has been placed on the 10-day injured list with right-elbow impingement.
“Obviously it’s less than ideal,” Jays general manager Ross Atkins said of the latest pitcher to be felled by injury. “He’s been trying to get back to that form and feels as though he’s just not getting there, so getting another look is what we’re going to do.”
Tepera, 0-2 this season with a 6.55 ERA and 1.64 WHIP, allowed three hits, including two home runs, in one inning against the Red Sox on Monday. He’s to meet with a specialist and manager Charlie Montoyo acknowledged spending more than 10 days on the shelf is a possibility.
In a corresponding move, the Jays recalled recently acquired righty Jimmy Cordero from the triple-A Buffalo Bisons and he was added to the 25-man roster. The 27-year-old Cordero was claimed off waivers by Toronto from the Washington Nationals on May 15.
The Jays’ pitching staff has been decimated by injuries this season, including the loss of starter Matt Shoemaker, Ryan Borucki, Clay Buchholz, David Phelps and closer Ken Giles.
EMPTYING THE BASES
Aaron Sanchez (3-4, 3.88 ERA) is slated to start on Wednesday despite leaving his most recent start with a right middle finger blister … Richard Clayton is expected to make his season debut on Thursday, coming back from a knee injury … Cal Quantrill, the 24-year-old Padres starter from Port Hope, Ont., and son of former Jays pitcher Paul Quantrill, will face the Jays for the first time on Saturday. Paul spent six seasons in Toronto as part of his 14-year MLB career … The Jays and Red Sox meet again June 21-23 at Boston, July 15-18 at Boston, don’t meet in August and then play once more Sept. 10-12 in Toronto.
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