NEW YORK — Marcus Stroman’s wild pitches were the least of his worries on Friday night.
The Toronto starter mowed down the Colorado Rockies for eight innings, and Edwin Encarnacion’s two-run homer off Adam Ottavino in the ninth helped the Blue Jays beat the Rockies 6-4.
Stroman (2-0) pitched his best game of the season in his first start since straining his left oblique on March 30. The right-hander gave up three runs, two earned, struck out eight and walked one.
“It was a very emotional and emotional night for me,” Stroman said. “To watch this team hang in there and fight tonight was very rewarding for all the hard work.”
Encarnacion, a former Bronco, gave the Blue Jays the lead with his seventh homer. Russell Martin added a two-run single in the ninth off Ottavino (0-1).
Colorado starter Jon Gray allowed four runs and seven hits in seven innings. He is 0-3 with a 7.21 ERA in five starts this season.
“When you make that many pitches, it’s usually gonna stick somewhere,” Gray said. “I got to continue to keep at it and keep the ball in the yard.”
VOTTO OUT AGAIN
Xander Bogaerts left the game in the fifth inning with right rib cage tightness. A possible return next week was scratched from the schedule, leaving Manager Alex Cora scratching his head.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” Cora said. “He’s almost been doing all the running. Then he comes out and I just don’t know, you’re trying to take a player who needs to be at 100 percent, and he’s coming out of the game.”
Gray began the night as the top pitcher in the major leagues with a 1.20 ERA but Bogaerts’ injury will keep him out of the lineup for at least another three games.
“Obviously, you’re not the same guy if he’s not in there,” Gray said. “We’ll have to see how he is (Saturday) and just try to get ready for Wednesday.”
Gray is scheduled to pitch Wednesday in Washington.
The AL Manager is working the game in his hometown of San Diego. After being among the final three in a fan voting that began March 16, Torey Lovullo was bumped from the ballot by Cleveland skipper Terry Francona, one of Lovullo’s top competitors.
“I understand the game is in San Diego. There’s no problem with that,” Lovullo said. “I respect that decision.”
Lovullo and Francona have won a pair of AL Manager of the Year awards and were tied for the second most wins with 212 in their careers.
Lovullo said he received a phone call Thursday from Francona.
“We talked,” Lovullo said. “I’m disappointed, but I understand the process, and I understand the process is the game on July 17.”
The Blue Jays are 1-2 on a season-opening road trip after going 2-4 at Cleveland and Colorado. Toronto is in the middle of the American League in runs scored and allowed, and the Blue Jays, who had just three hits, left town without a hit in the ninth.
Blue Jays: Placed RHP Jared Hoying on the disabled list because of elbow soreness. The move was retroactive to April 15. … Cora said 1B Chris Carter might return in two or three days after being hit in the right hand by a pitch. … IF Devon Travis was available off the bench after missing two games with lower back tightness.
LHP Jaime Garcia (1-1, 3.33 ERA) starts for the Blue Jays. Garcia has struggled in his career against the Rockies, going 1-5 with a 7.51 ERA in nine starts, including six starts with the Chicago White Sox. LHP Kyle Freeland (1-1, 5.68) starts for the Rockies. Freeland allowed four runs in the first inning in his last start on Tuesday against Miami and lasted just four innings.