Even in the face of back-to-back losses to the last-place Chicago White Sox, Marcus Stroman brims with confidence.
"I'm sure we'll rattle off 10 in a row here soon," Stroman said after he gave up three solo homers in the Blue Jays' 5-2 loss to the White Sox on Saturday afternoon.
"Nothing changes from the group, we realize we're going to go through stretches like this and that's why we stay confident day in and day out."
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons agreed with his starting pitcher, saying he wasn't worried about complacency in Toronto's clubhouse after the team went 18-10 in May to recover from an 8-17 April. With the loss, Toronto fell to 6-8 in the month of June.
"They approach it good every day, and I know the mentality there," said Gibbons. "The thing about baseball, it's not a sport where you go out and overpower somebody. If they throw a good game against you, things are tough, that's the way it is, if they're swinging the bats.
"It's not like a big physical sport where if you have the bigger, faster guys you're going to dominate."
Stroman (7-3) gave up six hits and three runs – all coming from the long ball – over seven innings with five strikeouts. Ryan Tepera and Aaron Loup both worked an inning of relief and each allowed a run, although Tepera's was unearned.
"I thought Stro was good, three solo home runs but he did his job," said Gibbons. "We just couldn't get enough offence going, obviously."
Ryan Goins had an RBI double for the Blue Jays (32-35) and Dwight Smith Jr. added a run-scoring single.
Todd Frazier, Matt Davidson and Jose Abreu hit the solo home runs for the White Sox (31-36), who sit last in the American League Central. The Blue Jays started the day tied with the Baltimore Orioles for last place in the East.
Mike Pelfrey (3-5) struck out five and gave up one run over six innings for Chicago.
Dan Jennings, Chris Beck, Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson came out of the bullpen to preserve the win. Jennings allowed the other run in his third of an inning.
Frazier hit his 11th homer of the season with one out in the second inning, taking a 3-1 pitch from Stroman to deep left field. Davidson followed that up with his own solo shot, this time to centre field, to make it 2-0.
It was the fourth time this season Chicago has hit back-to-back homers.
Goins answered for the Blue Jays in the bottom of the inning, hitting a ground-rule double that scored Kendrys Morales.
Stroman brought the 47,171 in attendance to their feet with some sharp defence in the top of the fifth. He caught Melky Cabrera's comebacker off the hop, wheeled around to throw to shortstop Troy Tulowitzki at second and start the 1-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Abreu tacked on another run to lead off the sixth, launching the ball to dead centre to make it 3-1. Goins showed his defensive prowess later in the frame, catching Davidson's line drive and throwing out Avisail Garcia at first.
Smith's RBI single in the seventh brought home Justin Smoak and moved Tulowitzki to second. Goins grounded into a double play to end the inning but Toronto was within one run.
"It was definitely big for us because we were putting together some good at-bats and I just wanted to keep the train rolling in a positive way," said Smith. "Just trying to not do too much and came up with an RBI single."
Frazier helped restore Chicago's two-run cushion in the eighth as his hit a ball down the third-base line that handcuffed Blue Jays infielder Josh Donaldson, allowing Alen Hanson to score and make it 4-2.
Tim Anderson tacked on another run on a squeeze play when Yolmer Sanchez dropped down a bunt in the ninth. Robertson pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his 11th save.