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Blue Jays’ Stroman shuts down Athletics for 1st win of year

April 20, 2019
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Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman works against the Oakland Athletics in the first inning of a baseball game Friday, April 19, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Of anybody who might have cost Marcus Stroman a complete game, old pal Kendrys Morales did it with a leadoff double in the ninth.

“K-Mo, that’s my guy, I love K-Mo,” Stroman said of his teammate until Morales’ trade to Oakland last month. “He put a great swing on a bad pitch. Wish K-Mo was still here, that’s my guy.”

Stroman struck out six and pitched into the ninth, Brandon Drury homered, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Athletics 5-1 on Friday night to snap a seven-game losing streak in the series.

Stroman (1-3) allowed six hits and one run with two walks for his first victory of the season despite a 1.99 ERA coming into his fifth start. He had received only one run of support over 22 2/3 innings before Friday.

The right-hander pitched eight innings for the first time since Aug. 11, 2017, against Pittsburgh. He had a chance for a complete game, but surrendered hit to Morales in the ninth and gave way to Ken Giles — and Stroman was visibly upset.

“I always want complete games,” Stroman said. “There’s no one who puts more pressure on me than myself.”

Manager Charlie Montoyo told Stroman he could start the ninth, but would make a change if someone reached base.

“He deserved a chance to finish the game,” Montoyo said.

Oakland’s Ramon Laureano argued with plate umpire Laz Diaz on a called third strike to end the game and had to be held back by teammates and coaches.

Danny Jansen hit a two-run double in the second that put the Blue Jays up for good. All four Toronto sports teams won for the first time — and the big three of the Blue Jays, Raptors and Maple Leafs for the eighth time ever and first since 2002.

Jansen followed Socrates Brito, who singled to get Toronto on the board and snap an 0-for-21 streak overall with his first hit and RBI with the Blue Jays. He had been hitless in 23 straight at-bats overall dating to last season while with Arizona. Drury’s first RBI of the season ended the third-longest start to a season without an RBI in franchise history.

“Obviously a four-spot’s not what you want to give up at that point,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.

Slugger Khris Davis went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts after receiving a new contract from the A’s that adds $33.75 million and runs through 2021. Davis’ hitless night dropped his batting average to .247 — and he has hit exactly .247 in each of his last four seasons. He even jokes about it.

The A’s went ahead 1-0 in the first on Matt Chapman’s double, then Stroman shut them down.

Eric Sogard, who spent 2010-15 with the A’s, batted leadoff and played second in just his fourth game — and start — for the Blue Jays since being called up Monday from Triple-A Buffalo. He drew cheers before the game and when he stepped into the batter’s box in the first.

Oakland starter Aaron Brooks (2-2) allowed five runs on six hits in five innings, struck out five and walked two.

He dropped to 0-3 — lowering his ERA vs. Toronto from 57.86 to 24.55 — in three career starts against the Blue Jays. He had last faced them on Aug. 12, 2015, with the A’s.

UNBALANCED

The Blue Jays lost all seven meetings against the A’s last season while being outscored 51-18 — the first time in club history going winless in a year against a single opponent with seven or more matchups.

Toronto avoided dropping eight in a row versus Oakland for the first time since April 26, 1998, to Aug. 15, ’99.

The A’s are now 6-3 against the AL East this season.

VLAD CHATTER

Everybody wants to know when top Toronto prospect Vladimir Guerrero will join the Blue Jays from Buffalo — and Montoyo doesn’t mind the immense interest and constant questions.

Outside speculation is it could be early next week — perhaps Tuesday.

“That’s what I like about it that I really don’t know, so I’m not really lying, otherwise you’d see my nose growing,” he said. “I tell my GM, ‘Don’t tell me if you know, I want to be surprised.’ He’s the No. 1 prospect in baseball. I get it. I have fun with it, too. Either the first question or the last one, or in the middle. I appreciate that because we have the No. 1 prospect in baseball and it will be pretty cool when he gets here.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Athletics: 1B Matt Olson, injured in the Japan series and almost a month out from undergoing right hand surgery, took his first swings off a tee in the hitting progression of his rehab. The timetable of 6-to-8 weeks hasn’t changed for Olson’s likely return.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: RHP Matt Shoemaker (3-0, 1.75 ERA) has allowed five earned runs over 25 2/3 innings in his first season with Toronto after pitching his initial six seasons for the Angels.

Athletics: RHP Mike Fiers (2-1, 7.06) is 6-0 with a 2.38 ERA over his last 10 outings at the Coliseum dating to June 21, 2017.

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