Marcus Stroman was solid in his first Major League start and Toronto’s offence made sure he came up a winner as the Blue Jays pounded the Kansas City Royals 12-2 on Saturday afternoon at Rogers Centre.
The 23 year old, who was the Blue Jays first-round draft pick in 2012, gave up five hits, struck out six and didn’t issue a walk over six innings before 31,652 fans. Recalled from triple-A Buffalo on Friday, the five-foot-nine right-hander threw 94 pitches, 63 of them for strikes.
Stroman, who earlier in May made five appearances out of the Blue Jays bullpen, improved his record to 2-0 and saw his earned run average fall from 12.79 at the start of the day to 7.30.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays hitters ended the drama early, scoring seven runs in the first inning and stretching the lead to 11-1 after four innings as Toronto emphatically ended a two-game losing streak.
Juan Francisco had three hits and four runs batted in, Brett Lawrie of Langley, B.C., had two hits and three RBIs and Adam Lind added three hits and two RBIs as the American League East-leading Blue Jays pounded out 14 hits off four Kansas City pitchers.
The Blue Jays (33-24) had won a season-high nine straight games before the Royals (26-29) won the first two games of the series Thursday and Friday.
Toronto finished May with an American League-best 21-9 record.
The Blue Jays, who were 0 for 10 with men in scoring position and stranded 14 runners in a 6-1 loss Friday, wasted few opportunities in the first inning against Kansas City right-hander Aaron Brooks. Brooks was making just his second career start and first since being recalled from triple-A Omaha.
Toronto sent 12 men to the plate in the opening inning on Saturday, the first eight of them reaching base to set a new club record. Each of the first five hitters scored and seven were in before Brooks was given the rest of the afternoon off, getting just two outs and yielding five hits, three walks and two hit batters.
Jose Bautista doubled in the first run and Francisco’s ground-rule double plated two more to make it 5-0. Other than those two extra-base hits, the Blue Jays scored via small ball — two RBI singles and a pair of bases-loaded walks — to turn the game into a laugher before all the fans had settled into their seats.
After Kansas City cut the Toronto lead to 7-1 in the second, Lawrie’s second RBI of the day made it 8-1 in the bottom of the inning. Lind, Lawrie and Francisco drove in runs in the fourth to make it 11-1.
Todd Redmond gave up one run over three innings in relief of Stroman.