Toronto Blue Jays News

Stroman, Saunders lift Blue Jays to sweep over the Royals

braydonholmyard
Jul 6, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (6) delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals in the second inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 6, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (6) delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals in the second inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Toronto Blue Jays won their fifth in a row and completed a three-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals with a 4-2 victory on the backs of Marcus Stroman and Michael Saunders.

Starter Marcus Stroman carried a perfect game into the fifth inning and looked dominant and in complete control throughout his eight innings of work. The Royals looked helpless at the plate at times and did not get a ball to the outfield until Paulo Orlando lined out to Kevin Pillar to end the fifth inning.

Michael Saunders started the scoring when he took Royals starter Ian Kennedy deep to right in the fourth inning. His 16th of the season was a solo shot and further proved why he is in the running to make his first all-star appearance next week in San Diego. The home run was the 21st allowed by Kennedy this season.

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In the next inning, Ezequiel Carrera pushed a ground ball up the middle with two outs to score Junior Lake, who had doubled his way to second. While in the moment two runs looked like they would be enough for Stroman, he ended up losing his perfect game, no-hitter, and shutout bid in the following inning.

After a leadoff walk in the top of the sixth, Alcides Escobar drove a ball to the gap in left and hustled his way around the diamond for an RBI triple. With nobody out and a man on third, Stroman produced a pair of weak ground balls and picked up a big strikeout to escape the inning with the lead. That proved to be crucial as shortly after Stroman left a ball up in the zone and Brett Eibner took him yard for his second career home run, tying the game at two.

Stroman pitched eight strong innings for the Blue Jays in his best start of the season. He totalled 14 ground ball outs and six strikeouts as he seemed to have all five pitches working on this night.

While the Royals’ timely hits seemed destined to spoil Stroman’s night, Saunders was not done making his all-star case. After a two-out double in the top of the ninth by Edwin Encarnacion, Saunders lined a single up the middle and an errant throw by Jerrod Dyson helped Encarnacion score easily. Fellow Canadian Russell Martin followed up with an RBI double to give the Blue Jays a two-run lead and hand the ball to Roberto Osuna.

Osuna overmatched the Royals to close it out and picked up his 17th save of the season.

The heroics of Stroman and Saunders covered up the strong start by Royals starter Ian Kennedy, who slipped his four-seam fastball by the Blue Jays bats all night and finished his six innings with ten K’s. Every Jays starter finished the night with at least one strikeout.

The sweep stretches the win streak to five games and the Blue Jays will look to keep things rolling at home with a four game set against the Detroit Tigers before heading into the all-star break.

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