TORONTO (AP) — When Ross Stripling made his big league debut with the Dodgers on April 8, 2016, he was pulled from a no-hitter in the eighth inning.
It didn’t come to that for Stripling Wednesday, but the Blue Jays right-hander wasn’t prepared to give up the ball willingly this time.
George Springer broke a scoreless tie with a pinch-hit RBI single in the seventh, and Toronto beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-1 on Wednesday behind a stellar effort from Stripling, who took a perfect game into the seventh.
“It was everything our team needed and more,” Springer said of Stripling’s performance. “He was incredible the way he operated today.”
Activated off the injured list before the game after being sidelined with a sore right hip, Stripling retired his first 18 batters before Cedric Mullins singled to center on the first pitch of the seventh.
“I was aware of the situation and just staying in attack mode, trying to stay efficient because I knew if anything was going to end it besides giving up a hit, it was going to be my pitch count,” Stripling said.
Some of the crowd of 40,141 gave Stripling a brief ovation after Mullins’ hit. It came on a curveball, a pitch Stripling hadn’t used against Baltimore’s leadoff man in his first two at-bats.
“He kind of saw it and then knew it was going to be a strike, and flicked it into left center,” Stripling said.
Stripling threw 72 pitches, 52 for strikes, and matched a season high by striking out seven in 6 1/3 innings. He threw 11 pitches to Austin Hays in a strikeout to start the second.
“We just didn’t square many balls up against him,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “We couldn’t get anything going.”
Toronto snapped a five-game losing streak against Baltimore and won for the third time in 11 games.
“Obviously it hasn’t been the best stretch for us,” Springer said. “I think everybody in that locker room understands what’s at stake.”
Baltimore could have moved into an AL wild-card spot with a win. The Orioles are 10-5 in August.
“Today is disappointing but we got out of here with the series win,” Hyde said.
Springer’s liner to center was career hit No. 1,000, and the first pinch hit of his career.
“It’s hard,” Springer said. “I have a lot of respect for guys who can just come off the bench like that.”
Toronto poured it on from there. Santiago Espinal followed Springer with a two-run double, and Alejandro Kirk capped the Blue Jays’ six-run frame with another two-run double.
After Anthony Santander advanced Mullins with a groundout in the seventh, Blue Jays manager John Schneider brought in right-hander Yimi Garcia to replace Stripling. Mullins went to third on Ryan Mountcastle’s grounder but Garcia (2-4) struck out Hays to end the threat.
Orioles right-hander Austin Voth allowed two hits in six innings, his longest outing of the season.
“Voth was really good,” Hyde said. “He pounded the strike zone and did a great job.”
Joey Krehbiel (4-4) took over in the seventh but left after giving up one-out hits to Teoscar Hernández and Bo Bichette.
Cionel Pérez replaced Krehbiel, and Springer, hitting for Raimel Tapia, broke the deadlock with a base hit to center on an 0-2 pitch.
“It kind of unraveled after that,” Hyde said.
Robinson Chirinos drove in Baltimore’s lone run with an infield single against Zach Pop in the eighth.
The Blue Jays optioned right-hander Trent Thornton to Triple-A Buffalo to open a roster spot for Stripling.
Schneider said LHP Yusei Kikuchi will pitch out of the bullpen for now, with RHP Mitch White taking his spot in the rotation. Kikuchi (4-7, 5.25 ERA) is 0-2 with a 7.30 ERA in three August starts.
“We think that he can definitely be very useful in that role going forward,” Schneider said of Kikuchi. “It could be a variety of things. It could be against left-handed hitting, it could be for some length.”
Orioles: RHP Spenser Watkins (4-2, 4.23 ERA) starts Thursday’s makeup game against the Cubs. RHP Adrian Sampson (0-3, 3.88) goes for Chicago.
Blue Jays: RHP José Berríos (8-5, 5.61) starts Thursday as the Blue Jays visit New York to begin a four-game series against the Yankees.
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