ATLANTA — Marcus Stroman picked up another interleague victory for the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night and showed that it isn’t just pitching that the right-hander enjoys doing against the National League.
Getting a rare chance to bat, Stroman smashed only the second homer ever by a Toronto pitcher as the Blue Jays bounced back from three straight losses to the Braves for a 9-0 victory over Atlanta.
“You know, I was talking earlier and saying Stro has a way of doing something if we need something desperately,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “He comes through.”
Stroman (4-2) improved to 6-2 in interleague play by working 5 2/3 innings in which he struck out six, walked one and gave up seven hits.
Stroman, who had a pinch-hit double in extra innings at St. Louis in April, hit his homer to right-center field in the third inning on a 0-2 pitch from Julio Teheran.
“Obviously, I’m not trying to hit a homer,” Stroman said. “I just ran into it. … I’ve never hit an opposite-field homer, even in BP.”
Mark Hendrickson hit the only other homer by a Blue Jays pitcher, connecting in 2003 at Montreal against the Expos.
“We saw (Stroman) hit last year at San Francisco and thought he had a pretty good swing,” Gibbons said. “I didn’t think he was going to hit the pinch-hit double at St. Louis and then the home run, but he’s a good athlete and he thinks he can do it.”
The Braves got bad news early in the day when it was confirmed that slugger Freddie Freeman fractured his left wrist the previous night when hit by a pitch, and nothing happened in this game to brighten their spirits.
Teheran (3-4) gave up back-to-back homers to Luke Maile and Stroman to start the fourth inning and was pulled a walk later as his home struggles continued in a big way.
“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, but it better get better. This is our stadium and it’s where I want to feel comfortable.”
Teheran has surrendered 26 runs over 18 innings in his four straight home losses, giving up 30 hits and nine 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 outings.
“I don’t think (it’s mental),” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s been around too long for that. I don’t know (what it is). Hopefully we’ll get it rectified.”
Darrell Ceciliani, taking the place of suspended center fielder Kevin Pillar, had an RBI double in Toronto’s three-run first and a two-run homer in the three-run third. However, Ceciliani had to leave the game when he hurt his left shoulder on the home run.
Jose Bautista was hit on the leg by a Teheran pitch in the first inning in apparent retaliation for his bat flip the previous night, but he trotted to first base without reaction and scored the Blue Jays’ first run.
“They did us a favor hitting Bautista,” Gibbons said.
Toronto’s Kendrys Morales was 4-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs.
NOTES: Braves 1B Freddie Freeman, batting .341 and leading the National League with 14 homers, will be sidelined approximately 10 weeks after suffering a non-displaced fracture of his left wrist when hit by a pitch from Blue Jays LHP Aaron Loup on Wednesday. An MRI confirmed the break Thursday. … CF Kevin Pillar was suspended two days without pay by the Blue Jays for shouting a homophobic slur at Braves RHP Jason Motte during a heating exchange Wednesday. Pillar, eligible to return Saturday in Baltimore, acknowledged using the slur and apologized. … Blue Jays OF Dwight Smith Jr. was promoted from Triple-A Buffalo and drew a walk in his first at-bat after entering has a defensive replacement. … 3B Rio Ruiz was recalled by the Braves from Triple-A Gwinnett, and he went 0-for-3. … Play was halted for 37 minutes in the third inning because of rain. … The Braves signed veteran 1B James Loney and assigned him to Gwinnett.