The manager didn’t expect Stroman to provide such a lift with his bat, though.
Stroman threw 5 2/3 strong innings and hit the second homer by a pitcher in Blue Jays history to lead Toronto over Julio Teheran and the Braves 9-0 on Thursday night.
“Stroman has a way of doing something if we need something desperately,” Gibbons said. “He comes through.”
Stroman had a pinch-hit double against St. Louis on April 25 but was shocked by his opposite-field homer on an 0-2 pitch from Teheran in the fourth inning.
“I’ve never hit an opposite-field homer, even in batting practice, in my life,” he said.
Darrell Ceciliani, recalled from Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday, had a run-scoring double in the first and a two-run homer in the third before leaving with a left shoulder injury. Ceciliani started in centre field after Kevin Pillar was suspended two games without pay for yelling an anti-gay slur at Braves reliever Jason Motte during Wednesday night’s game.
Teheran hit Jose Bautista with a pitch in the first inning, a day after Bautista’s bat flip following a home run drew criticism from the Braves. Teheran’s first pitch to Bautista was inside. The second pitch hit Bautista’s thigh. Bautista walked to first base as home plate umpire Paul Emmel issued warnings to both benches.
Bautista had two hits, including a double.
Teheran (3-4) allowed a career-high nine runs in three-plus innings in his fourth straight home loss.
The Braves, who scored eight or more runs in three straight wins over Toronto with Freddie Freeman in the lineup, saw their offence disappear after learning the first baseman will miss about 10 weeks with a fractured left wrist.
Freeman was hurt when hit by a pitch from Toronto’s Aaron Loup in Wednesday night’s 8-4 win over the Blue Jays.
Freeman wore a green cast Thursday as he watched the game from the dugout.
Kendrys Morales drove in two runs with four hits. Luke Maile and Stroman hit back-to-back homers in the fourth.
Stroman (4-2) allowed seven hits with one walk and six strikeouts. He improved to 6-1 with a 2.00 ERA in 12 career interleague games, including nine starts.
Teheran suffered through another ugly start at SunTrust Park, allowing nine hits, including three homers. He is 2-0 with a 0.71 ERA in four road starts and 1-4 with a 10.50 ERA in five home starts.
“I felt good, which is what makes it so disappointing,” Teheran said. “I didn’t do my job. I don’t know what it is here. I don’t know what is happening.”
Blue Jays: Ceciliani grabbed his left shoulder soon after his home-run swing. He appeared to be in pain as he ran the bases and didn’t return in the bottom of the inning. The team said he has a possible left shoulder subluxation. Gibbons said he expects Ceciliani will be placed on the disabled list.
Braves: 3B Adonis Garcia was wearing a walking boot two days after he was placed on the 10-day DL with left Achilles tendon tendinitis.
Atlanta’s Jace Peterson made his first career start at first base. He became the NL’s first player to start at every infield position other than catcher this season. He has made starts at second base, shortstop, third base and left field.
Stroman’s first career homer was the first by a Toronto pitcher since Mark Hendrickson’s shot against Montreal on June 21, 2003.
Dwight Smith Jr., the son of the former outfielder who played for four teams, including the Braves, was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo to replace Pillar on the roster. Smith entered the game in left field in the third when Ceciliani left and had a walk in three plate appearances.
Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez (0-1) is 5-3 with a 4.31 ERA in 14 games, including nine starts, against the Orioles. He is 2-2 with a 3.52 ERA at Baltimore’s Camden Yards.
Braves: RHP R.A. Dickey (3-3) will make his second start of the season against Washington. He allowed three runs in seven innings in a 3-2 home loss to the Nationals on April 20.