TORONTO — For three innings, Marcus Stroman was dominant and engaged in a pitchers’ duel with Merrill Kelly. But the Toronto Blue Jays righty struggled with his location after that and the Arizona Diamondbacks took advantage.
Kevin Cron hit his first Major League home run as part of a five-run fourth inning and Kelly was dominant on the mound as the Diamondbacks defeated the Blue Jays 8-2 on Friday.
"It was weird because he was getting all of those ground balls early in the game and then that one inning, he pitched up and in the zone and they did a good job hitting him," Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said of his ace. "He’s not easy to hit and you have to give credit for taking advantage of the ball being up in the zone."
Stroman said: "I think they just hit some really good pitches, Cron put a good swing on it,"
Cron hit a three-run homer for the Diamondbacks (32-32). David Peralta and Carson Kelly also had solo home runs.
Merrill Kelly (6-6) allowed just one run on three hits over seven innings for a quality start. He struck out three batters and walked two.
Teoscar Hernandez hit a solo home run for the Blue Jays (23-40).
Stroman (3-8) lasted 5 2/3 innings and allowed six runs and seven hits. He struck out four batters and walked two.
The Diamondbacks opened the scoring when Peralta hit an RBI single for a 1-0 lead. The next batter, Christian Walker, would hit an RBI ground-rule double for another run before Cron jumped on a 1-1 fastball from Stroman and sent the ball over the left-field wall for a three-run homer.
In the fifth inning, Hernandez hit a 1-1 fastball from Merrill Kelly, which just sailed over the right-field fence to cut Arizona’s lead to 5-1.
The Diamondbacks restored their five-run lead in the sixth inning when Peralta hit a solo home run. Stroman would be pulled three batters later when he gave up a single to Nick Ahmed, Arizona’s seventh hit of the game.
"I think they just beat me in that inning," Stroman said, reflecting on the fourth.
In the seventh inning, Eduardo Escobar hit an RBI single to give Arizona a 7-1 lead.
In the ninth inning, Carson Kelly hit a solo home run to right field for a seven-run advantage.
Randal Grichuk scored from second base in the ninth after a throwing error charged to Ahmed.
Notes: The Blue Jays scored two-or-fewer runs for the fourth time in their last six games. Attendance was 16,555.