Stroman’s Extra Inning Heroics Lead To A 6-5 Win Against the Cardinals

Apr 25, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pinch hitter Chris Coghlan (7) touches home plate after leaping over St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (4) to score during the seventh inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 25, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pinch hitter Chris Coghlan (7) touches home plate after leaping over St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (4) to score during the seventh inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /
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Wins have been tough to come by for the Toronto Blue Jays so far this season. They picked up their sixth victory of the season in another extra innings marathon. All thanks to an unlikely hero.

The Toronto Blue Jays saw themselves at Busch Stadium for the first time since 2011. They began the second part of their seven-game road trip. A three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

With the DH nonexistent in the National League, the Blue Jays shuffled up their lineup. Russell Martin made his 11th career start at third base- he hasn’t played the position since 2013. It also gave Jarrod Saltalamacchia a chance to get more at-bats.

The pitching matchup was a dominant one. Marco Estrada was up against Michael Wacha. Both pitchers had strong starts prior to tonight and it carried over into the game.

The Cardinals got on the scoreboard right away in the bottom of the first. Dexter Fowler started things off with a leadoff double into the right field corner. Jedd Gyorko would single to score Fowler as that put the Cardinals up 1-0.

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The Blue Jays would take the lead in the top of the fourth inning. With Ezequiel Carrera on first, Jose Bautista singled to right field as Stephen Piscotty’s throw to third base hit Carerra on the helmet and it went passed him. Bautista got to third with Piscotty’s throwing error and Carrera scored to tie it up.

Then, Kendrys Morales made it 2-1 thanks to a RBI groundout to score Bautista. Estrada ran into some trouble in the bottom of the fourth inning. Stephen Piscotty and Jedd Gyroko opened the bottom half with back-to-back doubles. Yadier Molina would tie it up with a RBI single to right field.

Estrada would pitch out of the jam after loading up the bases. He struck out Randal Grichuk, then he got Kolten Wong to groundout on a 4-6-3 double play. The excellent changeup of Estrada helped him strike out the final three batters he faced in the bottom of the sixth.

Estrada pitch six innings with five hits, allowing two earned runs, one breaking ball, and nine strikeouts. He threw 101 pitches as 73 of them were strikes. His counterpart Wacha put up very similar numbers.  The 25- year old also pitched six innings with five hits, allowing two earned runs, one walk, and six strikeouts.

Things got pretty interesting in the seventh inning. The Cardinals put in Matt Bowman after Wacha. Kevin Pillar would hit a RBI to right field when Chris Coghlan made an athletic play by somersaulting over Molina to score. He avoided the tag and put the Blue Jays up 3-2.

Afterward, Carrera made to first safely on a fielding error by Gyorko. Pillar later scored and the Blue Jays were up 4-2.

The drama from the top of the seventh continued into the bottom half of the inning. Joe Biagini couldn’t hold the lead after Jose Martinez homered to right field on a 2-1 count. He scored Wong to tie up the game 4-4. Biagini would strikeout the next two batters he faced. The Cardinals used Kevin Siegrist for the top of the eighth and Joe Smith would pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Brett Cecil came in the top of the ninth to pitch against his former team for the first time. It was a moment to forget as Cecil walked Pillar, then threw a wild pickoff pitch to get Pillar to third. Steve Pearce came to pinch hit and he struck out before Bautista hit a RBI single to left field. That gave the Blue Jays a 5-4 lead.

Roberto Osuna blew the save as the Cardinals tied it up once again in the bottom of the ninth. Dexter Fowler hit an infield single to score Randal Grichuk to send it to extra innings. In the extra frame, Cardinals pitcher Miguel Socolovich retired the side in order in the top of the 10th. Jason Grilli would strike out the side in the bottom of the 10th.

Marcus Stroman would come in to pinch hit for Grilli in the top of the 11th. Stroman picked up his big career hit with a double to left field. Pearce came up to bat and was called safe at second on another fielding error by Aldemys Diaz. The error scored Stroman and gave the Blue Jays the lead once again to put them up 6-5.

Ryan Tepera picked up the save, Grilli got the win and Socolovich got the loss as the Blue Jays take the first game of the series 6-5 in extra innings.

The Blue Jays are now 2-3 in extra inning action this season.

Next: Blue Jays Injury Report: Donaldson, Tulo and more

Mat Latos will go up against Carlos Martinez in game two of this series. First pitch gets under way at 8:15 p.m. EST at Busch Stadium.

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