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Blue Jay bats waste a gem by Stroman as nightmare start continues

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman works against the Milwaukee Brewers during the first inning of their matchup in Toronto on Wednesday.

Frank Gunn/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Nothing seems to be going right for the Toronto Blue Jays these days.

After coming home with only a single win following a season-opening five-game trip, there was hope that Toronto would be able to right the ship and pick up a pair of victories against the Milwaukee Brewers, who are widely expected to be among the worst teams in baseball this season. Not so.

The Blue Jays (1-7) were swept by the Brewers (4-5) on Tuesday, dropping the finale of their two-game set 2-0 at Rogers Centre in front of a crowd of 29,919. The loss extended Toronto's losing streak – prolonging the worst start to a season in franchise history – to five games.

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Josh Donaldson's return from injury to the starting lineup did not provide the anticipated spark, nor did Marcus Stroman's performance, which, if not for Jonathan Villar, would've been good enough to earn a win most nights.

Stroman, who had been the Jays' only pitcher with a win attached to his name this season, pitched a complete-game loss. He allowed two earned runs on seven hits over nine innings and struck out four and walked one to even his record to 1-1.

Villar, the Brewers second baseman, picked up a pair of hits off Stroman, including a solo home run in the sixth that gave Milwaukee a one-run cushion after going up 1-0 in the second inning.

Chase Anderson registered the win for the Brewers, pitching seven innings. He gave up three hits and a pair of walks with seven strikeouts, further contributing to the Blue Jays' abysmal numbers against right-handed pitching this season.

Toronto hitters, with a collective .191 batting average when facing righties before Wednesday's game, went down in order through three innings until Jose Bautista broke up Anderson's no-hit bid with a single to left field with one out in the fourth.

A walk and an intentional walk later, the Blue Jays were suddenly threatening with the bases loaded and two out. But Russell Martin, who Anderson brushed back with a high fastball in his first at-bat of the evening, struck out for the second time, ending the inning and killing the momentum. Martin's woes at the plate this season have been especially bleak, though he did break a 0-for-20 run with a double to right field in the bottom of the seventh.

Besides a Kevin Pillar single, Steve Pearce had the only other Blue Jays hit of the night, a swinging bunt that travelled all of six feet from the batter's box.

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"Some of our best hitters are missing their pitch," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.

The Blue Jays had the heart of the order due up in the ninth. Bautista popped out to lead off before Donaldson walked, bringing Kendrys Morales, the tying run, to the plate. Morales laced a come-backer toward Brewers closer Neftali Feliz, who knocked the line drive down, turned and threw to second, setting off a game-ending double play after a brisk 2 hours 14 minutes.

The Jays don't have much time to dwell on their woes. They're playing host to a pair of division rivals starting Thursday, when the Baltimore Orioles come to town for a four-game series. That will be followed up by three games against the Boston Red Sox.

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