Matt Holliday belted a ball in the first inning that came to its final resting place on the netting that protects Monument Park, good for a three-run homer. Then Aaron Judge sent up a ball in the third that also ended up on the netting, good for a two-run homer.
The starter in Toronto’s 8-6 loss at Yankee Stadium Wednesday night looked like Marcus Stroman. But he didn’t pitch like him.
This version of the Patchogue-Medford alum struggled with his command, allowing three walks, six hits and the five runs. Manager John Gibbons pulled him after three innings and 66 pitches, only 36 of them going for strikes.
“Upper-body injury,” Gibbons said, only this was about a Blue Jays player, not one with the Maple Leafs.
Gibbons paused and added: “He had some tightness in his arm . . . Hopefully, it’s no big deal.”
Indeed that was Stroman’s take after his shortest start since his rookie year of 2014. He called it “general arm tightness” and said he had a tough time getting extension on some pitches.
“I had trouble getting loose today,” said Stroman, who wasn’t sure if the cool temperature caused it. “I’m not worried about it at all . . . I’ll be ready to rock come Tuesday.”
Back in March, Stroman stood out in the confetti storm at Dodger Stadium, giving his World Baseball Classic Most Valuable Player award a joyride over his head, raising it toward the sky.
He brought along a no-hitter to the seventh inning of the championship game against Puerto Rico, helping Team USA claim its first WBC title. Then Stroman built on his tournament success, excelling in the early going for the Jays.
“I think it helped him a little bit,” Gibbons said. “I don’t know how much. He put the USA back on the map, helped anyway.”
The 26-year-old righthander with the power sinker is 2-2 with four quality starts in six tries, including two complete games. This no-decision start took his ERA from 2.97 to 3.89.
“He certainly doesn’t fit the mold of a pitcher,” said Yankees reliever Tyler Clippard, who was Stroman’s Team USA teammate. “ . . . But he’s strong, works hard and has got a good arm.”
Stroman is generously listed at 5-8.
“He’s always been that guy who’s always had something to prove growing up because he’s smaller,” Gibbons said. “So naturally that’s a driving force for him.”
His demonstrative side on the mound hasn’t always been an endearing side.
“He’s an emotional kid out there,” Joe Girardi said. “I don’t necessarily think he’s doing it to show people up. But when you’re on the other side and he’s shutting you down, of course you’re going to be frustrated with it.”