Former Duke pitcher, Toronto relievers deal one-hitter

Jul. 24, 2014 @ 08:30 PM

John Gibbons wasn’t exactly happy to see rookie Marcus Stroman lose his no-hitter. Still, it saved the Blue Jays manager from making a tough decision about how long to stick with his young star.

Stroman and two relievers combined on a one-hitter, Juan Francisco drove in four runs and came within a double of the cycle and Toronto beat the Boston Red Sox 8-0 on Thursday.

Stroman’s no-hit bid ended when Shane Victorino blooped a single to center to lead off the seventh. One out later, Victorino was erased on Mike Napoli’s double-play grounder.

Stroman (6-2) only allowed two other baserunners on walks and matched a season-high by striking out seven in seven innings. The rookie right-hander is 5-1 with an 1.54 ERA in seven home starts.

“He’s pitching like a veteran who’s been around a long time and he’s been very successful,” Gibbons said. “He shuts down good-hitting teams, he’s a great competitor.”

Fifteen games into his big league career, Stroman said he’s achieved more than he expected so far.

He was the 22nd overall pick out of Duke in the 2012 MLB draft.

“I knew if I came up here and got settled in, I could pitch well and help our team win every game,” he said. “But yeah, I’d definitely say I’ve surpassed (expectations). It’s definitely been a ride so far.”

Stroman hasn’t thrown a complete game since his call up in May, so Gibbons was wary of overworking his pitcher as long as the no-hitter remained intact.

“That was going through our minds,” said Gibbons, who yanked Stroman after 97 pitches. “I don’t know if ‘relieved’ is the word, but it didn’t hurt.”

Todd Redmond worked the eighth and Rob Rasmussen finished.

Red Sox slugger David Ortiz felt back spasms on a swing in the ninth and was replaced by Jonny Gomes, who flied out to end the game.

“I don’t think it’s anything serious,” Ortiz said.

Francisco tripled and scored in the second, hit a two-run homer in the third and added a two-run single in the fifth as the Blue Jays won for the fifth time in six games.

“Hopefully he’s heating up at the right time,” Gibbons said.

Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera went 3 for 4 with a walk and two RBIs. Cabrera scored a run and doubled three times.

Boston set season-highs in runs, hits (18) and home runs (four) in Monday’s 14-1 rout, their fifth straight win, but managed just seven runs over the final 27 innings of the series.

“We were behind the eight-ball right from the first or second inning, and were never really in this one,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said.

Red Sox right-hander Rubby De La Rosa allowed seven runs, six earned, in a season-low four-plus innings, raising his ERA from 2.64 to 3.54. De La Rosa (3-3), who lost for the first time since June 11 at Baltimore, walked two and struck out one.

Phillies 2, Giants 1

PHILADELPHIA — Cole Hamels used an amped-up fastball in his latest dominant performance.

Hamels pitched eight strong innings and Chase Utley had a tiebreaking RBI single in the fifth inning to lift the Philadelphia Phillies to a 2-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Thursday.

Hamels (5-5) got the better of Tim Hudson in a matchup between starters who have combined for seven All-Star appearances. The Philadelphia left-hander gave up six hits while striking out 10 and walking one.

More noted for his changeup, Hamels has found an extra gear for his fastball over his last two starts.

After using it to shut down Atlanta in a 2-1 win last Saturday, Hamels frequently featured a heater that again touched the mid-90’s.

Athletics 13, Astros 1

OAKLAND, Calif. — Brandon Moss hit a grand slam and the Oakland Athletics gave Jeff Samardzija more run support Thursday than he has had all season in a 13-1 victory over the Houston Astros.

Jed Lowrie had three hits and drove in a run for the A’s, who have the best record (63-38) in baseball and are a season-best 25 games over .500.

Chris Carter hit a home run for the Astros, who fell to 2-4 since the All-Star Break.

Samardzija (2-1) gave up a leadoff single to Jose Altuve and then retired 10 straight before Carter’s 20th home run put Houston on the board. He did not walk a batter and struck out six.

He retired 12 of 13 following Carter’s blast. Carter was the lone Astro to venture past second base against Samardzija.

Yankees 4, Rangers 2

NEW YORK — Brandon McCarthy threw six more solid innings, fellow newcomer Chase Headley delivered another timely hit and the New York Yankees beat the Texas Rangers 4-2 Thursday for their sixth win in seven games.

Brett Gardner doubled, scored a run and drove in one as the Yankees kept up their push since the All-Star break.

Texas fell to 3-17 in July and dropped 22 games under .500 for the first time since the final week of the 1988 season.

McCarthy improved to 2-0 with a 1.45 ERA in three starts since the Yankees got him in a deal with Arizona earlier this month. He was 3-10 with a 5.01 ERA at the time of the trade.

McCarthy limited Texas to one run and four hits. He struck out five, and fanned Alex Rios to finish off an 11-pitch at-bat that ended the first inning.