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Marcus Stroman pitches a complete-game shutout as Blue Jays beat Cubs 8-0

Tom Szczerbowski

Blue Jays 8 Cubs 0

That was what I would consider a fairly enjoyable experience. The Blue Jays absolutely routed the Cubs in the opener of this three-game series at the Rogers Centre on the back of a monster pitching performance by young Marcus Stroman. The victory pulled the Blue Jays level with the New York Yankees in the wild card race and brought Toronto's record to 74-69 on the season.

The game began with starter Marcus Stroman nearly losing his noggin, which would have been lame (aside from the fact that he wouldn't have a head) because he wouldn't have been able to go on and pitch a complete game shutout.

The Duke grad went the full nine allowing essentially zilch to the power-heavy Cubs lineup. His final line was three hits with no earned runs allowed on eight strikeouts with zero free passes. The most impressive part is that he did this by throwing just 93 nasty pitches. In fact, superstar prospect Javier Baez was unable to even get the ball out of the infield against the small righty, which was aided by a ridiculous bare-handed play by Ryan Goins to end the game.

The offence didn't need to score eight runs with the way Stroman was pitching, but they did anyway. The action got started in the second inning when Danny Valencia brought home Adam Lind on a single right up the middle.

The fourth inning brought another run when Dioner Navarro picked up a sac fly RBI that scored Edwin Encarnacion. Things kicked off even more in the fifth when Ryan Goins and Anthony Gose got on base before Jose Bautista hit his 200th home run as a Blue Jays player which was also his 32nd of the season.

Dan Straily replaced Jacob Turner to start the seventh and was welcomed to the game by a Kevin Pillar double that brought up Ryan Goins. Logan Watkins then preceded to make a proper mess of the soft groundball hit by the Blue Jays second baseman allowing Pillar to come around to score and make it 6-0 for Toronto. Visual proof of Watkins' showing how not to play baseball is at this link.

The eighth inning saw the last two runs of the game scored after back-to-back doubles by Adam Lind and Dioner Navarro made it 7-0, followed by Kevin Pillar bringing around the former Cubs catcher in Navarro.

Standout performances from the Blue Jays hitters include:

  • Jose Bautista going 1-3 with a walk and his big three-run home run.
  • Adam Lind going 2-4 as well as scoring a run.
  • Dioner Navarro continuing his hot streak going 2-3 with 2 RBI.
  • Kevin Pillar going 2-4, bringing his average up to .250.
The game also produced this fine Vine from our very own Minor Leaguer spotlighting Blue Jays "bench warmer" Colby Rasmus participating in the "OK Blue Jays" dance:

Jays of the Day include Jose Bautista (.110 WPA), Adam Lind (.116), and of course Marcus Stroman (.333). There's no suckage Jays, but Ray Rice certainly gets one.

Source: FanGraphs

Tomorrow will feature the second game of the interleague series kicking off at 7:07 as Mark Buehrle takes on standout Cubs starter Jake Arrieta.