TORONTO – There was one persistent feeling that kept coming up in the Blue Jays’ post-game scrums on Monday night: frustration.
After a demoralizing 7-5 loss to the Chicago White Sox, punctuated by Toronto squandering a four-run lead over one bad inning, Marcus Stroman felt that more than anyone.
“I play the game extremely passionately and I was extremely frustrated with the way things played out there,” said Stroman, who left the game with a 5-1 lead and the bases loaded with two out in the seventh before the Blue Jays bullpen ran up the score.
“I felt pretty good all night but I was just really frustrated with the way things turned out and I felt like I didn’t do my job in the end.”
Brett Cecil (0-5), replacing Stroman in the seventh, took the loss after allowing two runs on two hits and a walk while failing to get the final out of the frame.
#BlueJays are 0-7 in games decided by their relievers, 10-4 when starters are pitchers of record. The 7 bullpen losses are most in @MLB.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) April 26, 2016
Gavin Floyd, in for Cecil and staked to a slim 5-4 lead with the bases loaded, then gave up a two-run double to Todd Frazier, the first batter he faced, as Chicago rallied for its fourth straight victory.
Stroman dominated through much of his start before running into trouble in the disastrous seventh. The 24-year-old right-hander was charged with four runs on six hits and two walks through 6 2/3. He also struck out four.
Pulled from the game, Stroman expressed his anger in the dugout, smacking his hand against the bench as his team gave up the lead.
“I heard him,” manager John Gibbons said of the outburst. “I didn’t see anything but I definitely heard him.”
Asked if he was showing up Cecil with his dugout antics, Stroman replied: “I don’t think so at all.”
“In no sense have I ever tried to turn my teammate up in any sense,” he added. “It was more frustration in the fact that I felt I didn’t do my job in the end and I didn’t put my team in a position to win when I went back out there for the seventh.
“I was frustrated. I’ve always been an emotional guy.“
Frazier, Adam Eaton and Jose Abreu drove in two runs apiece for the White Sox (14-6). Chicago reliever Zach Putnam earned his first win of the season and David Robertson pitched the bottom of the ninth for his eighth save.
Edwin Encarnacion had three RBIs for the Blue Jays (10-11) and Michael Saunders, back in the lineup after sitting out the last three games with a sore hamstring, hit a two-run blast.
A ninth-inning Toronto rally ended when a Saunders chopper up the middle hit Troy Tulowitzki on the basepaths for the final out of the game.
“It was a tough play,” Tulowitzki said. “I’ve got to get to second base there so I’m trying to time it perfect. The ball kicked back a little bit, hit me in my arm.
“You sit there and you’re pretty frustrated. You don’t want a game to ever end that way.”
Stroman got off to a shaky start in the first inning, allowing the first two batters to reach and giving up a run on an Abreu ground out. He also walked a batter before settling down to retire the next eight.
A lead-off single from Frazier in the fourth inning snapped that string of retired batters. But the damage was negated when Stroman caught Frazier stealing second base for the third out of the frame.
Toronto seemed to be on a roll — until the seventh.
With Brett Lawrie on first base and one out, Dioner Navarro hit a liner up the middle that could have been a double play. Instead, Stroman reached his arm out to catch the ball, and it deflected off the back of his arm and high into the air. By the time second baseman Ryan Goins could catch it, Lawrie was safe at second.
Stroman walked the next batter, Austin Jackson, on four straight pitches to load the bases with two out before leaving the game.
“The thing that made it worse was we had a shift on, I was right behind him, it would have been a double play,” Tulowitzki said. “But sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way, you don’t get any breaks and tonight was a perfect example.”
The Blue Jays scored twice in the bottom of the first on Encarnacion’s two-run double and added three runs in the third on an Encarnacion single and Saunders’s two-run shot.
A sacrifice fly from Abreu gave the White Sox a 7-5 lead in the ninth.
Miguel Gonzalez, in his White Sox debut, went 5 1/3 and gave up five runs on 11 hits.