BALTIMORE — A scorching line drive did more than merely end the night for Toronto pitcher Marcus Stroman.
It also turned out to be a downer for the Baltimore Orioles.
Josh Donaldson hit a pivotal three-run homer and the Blue Jays deftly recovered from Stroman’s scary moment in a 7-2 victory Saturday night.
Stroman was struck on the right elbow by a second-inning liner off the bat of Mark Trumbo. The right-hander immediately dropped to the ground and squirmed in pain near the mound.
“Obviously you panic right at first. It just felt like my arm exploded,” Stroman said. “But once I kind of started to squeeze my hand while I was on the ground and kind of feel that I had my strength in my wrist and my hand, I kind of felt a little better.”
Stroman was removed by bench coach DeMarco Hale, who was subbing for manager John Gibbons.
“He thought that he might be going to be able to pitch,” Hale said. “But we saw that the bruise was on his arm there, so it was a no-brainer for me.”
The injury was diagnosed as a contusion, and X-rays were negative.
Stroman was replaced by Matt Dermody (2-0), who went 2 1/3 innings before Luis Santos allowed one run and two hits over 3 1/3 innings in his first big league game.
Turns out, the Orioles probably would have fared better against Stroman, Toronto’s ace, than the prospects who replaced him.
“He’s a really good pitcher, so you spend a good amount of time getting ready for that,” Baltimore’s Seth Smith said. “Whenever he’s out, it changes the dynamic.”
The right-hander gave up two hits and struck out three in 1 2/3 innings.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said: “There’s a lot of unknown, and you get ambushed this time of the year easily with the way the rules are in September.”
Showalter stressed he wasn’t using that as an excuse for the Orioles’ meager offensive output, but he also expressed his disdain for the expanded rosters and their impact on Baltimore’s playoff push.
“It’s tough. It’s another thing that most who play the game don’t like about this time of year,” the manager said. “But it is what it is, and we’re all playing under the same rules. So you deal with it.”
Smith homered for the Orioles, who fell 2 1/2 games behind Minnesota for the final AL wild-card slot.
Kevin Pillar and Darwin Barney went deep for the last-place Blue Jays, who were in a 2-10 funk before winning two of three in a series that concludes Sunday.
Toronto was clinging to a two-run lead when Donaldson connected in the seventh off Richard Rodriguez, who was making his major league debut. Barney hit a two-run drive in the eighth to make it 7-0.
The Blue Jays played without Gibbons, who left to tend to personal business, according to the team.
Orioles starter Wade Miley (8-11) allowed a solo shot to Pillar in the fifth inning and a sacrifice fly to Kendrys Morales in the sixth. The left-hander is 1-3 against Toronto this season.
“I just want to go out there and give us a chance to win,” Miley said. “Obviously, tonight I wasn’t able to do that.”
Blue Jays: Selected the contract of Santos from Triple-A Buffalo and designated RHP Nick Tepesch for assignment.
Orioles: OF Craig Gentry (fractured finger) was placed on the 10-day DL, and Baltimore recalled RHP Alec Asher and LHP Donnie Hart.
Blue Jays: 1B Justin Smoak (strained right calf) was back in the starting lineup for the first time since Tuesday. “We’ll keep our eye on him,” Hale said. “He’s feeling pretty good, though.”
Orioles: Showalter hoped Gentry could serve as a pinch runner while nursing his broken right middle finger, but the injury — which occurred Friday night — was too severe.
Blue Jays: LHP Brett Anderson (0-1, 1.59 ERA) makes his second start for Toronto in the series finale. He allowed a run over 5 2/3 innings against Boston on Tuesday, his first outing for an AL team since 2013.
Orioles: Chris Tillman (1-7, 7.91 ERA) seeks his first win in 17 starts since May 7. He’s had four straight seasons with at least 10 victories, a streak that will end this year.
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