for this game

Stroman targets second straight win in opener with Cards

Jun 6, 2014 - 2:39 PM ( - Rookie Marcus Stroman saw in his first Major League start the benefits of pitching behind the red-hot Toronto offense.

Stroman eyes a second straight victory for himself on Friday night as the Blue Jays play the first of three straight interleague matchups with the St. Louis Cardinals.

The 23-year-old Stroman went 1-0 with a 12.79 earned run average in five relief outings earlier in May with the Blue Jays before returning to the minors. The 22nd overall pick of the 2012 draft was then recalled on Saturday to make his first career start and won a 12-2 decision over the Kansas City Royals to claim his first victory.

Stroman worked around five hits and fanned six without a walk after getting staked to a 7-0 win after the first inning.

"It was a pretty unbelievable game to be a part of. The offense is just so special," said the right-handed Stroman.

The Blue Jays lead the majors with 87 homers, getting three more in Thursday's 7-3 win over the Detroit Tigers. Juan Francisco and Brett Lawrie hit back-to- back homers in the sixth inning and Melky Cabrera went deep in the ninth.

Erik Kratz drove in two runs for the Blue Jays, who have won five straight games, 17 of their last 20 and swept the Tigers for the first time since April 5-7, 2004.

"We're just coming to play," Lawrie said. "We're worrying about what we've got to worry about as a team and just executing what we need to do."

J.A. Happ tossed 6 1/3 innings, allowing just three runs on seven hits and two walks to earn the win.

Toronto's latest power surge came despite Edwin Encarnacion getting held out of the lineup due to a minor back problem. Encarnacion is second in the majors with 19 homers and tied for second in the AL with 50 RBI.

He is day-to-day.

While the Blue Jays are streaking, the Cardinals have lost seven of their past nine, dropping three of four to the Kansas City Royals. They failed to grab a split of the set with Thursday's 3-2 loss.

Michael Wacha did not allow a run through his first five innings of work, but yielded three in the sixth frame to blow a 2-0 lead.

"I think that we all know that we're not playing up to our potential," said Wacha. "I think that we just keep on grinding, coming to the ball park every day and work on getting better, the results will change for sure."

Kolten Wong exited Thursday's game after aggravating his sore left shoulder. He hurt his shoulder in Tuesday's game, the same contest that saw him hit a grand slam.

Lance Lynn will try to get the Cardinals back on track and recover from his own rough outing.

Lynn threw a five-hit shutout to beat the New York Yankees on May 27, but left his Sunday start against the San Francisco Giants after just 3 1/3 frames. The 27-year-old righty was charged with seven runs -- four earned -- on eight hits and four walks in the 8-0 loss.

That dropped Lynn to 6-3 with a 3.48 ERA on the year and he'll face the Blue Jays for the second time. The first encounter came back on June 24, 2011, when he hurled three innings of one-hit ball in relief.

The Blue Jays swept a three-game series in St. Louis in the last meeting on June 24-26, 2011.