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Josh Donaldson's 3-run homer, powers Toronto over Baltimore

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Josh Donaldson's 3-run homer, powers Toronto over Baltimore

BALTIMORE -- A scorching line drive did more than merely end the night for Toronto pitcher Marcus Stroman.

It also turned out to be a downer for the Baltimore Orioles.

Josh Donaldson hit a pivotal three-run homer and the Blue Jays deftly recovered from Stroman's scary moment in a 7-2 victory Saturday night.

Stroman was struck on the right elbow by a second-inning liner off the bat of Mark Trumbo. The right-hander immediately dropped to the ground and squirmed in pain near the mound.

"Obviously you panic right at first. It just felt like my arm exploded," Stroman said. "But once I kind of started to squeeze my hand while I was on the ground and kind of feel that I had my strength in my wrist and my hand, I kind of felt a little better."

Stroman was removed by bench coach DeMarco Hale, who was subbing for manager John Gibbons.

"He thought that he might be going to be able to pitch," Hale said. "But we saw that the bruise was on his arm there, so it was a no-brainer for me."

The injury was diagnosed as a contusion, and X-rays were negative.

Stroman was replaced by Matt Dermody (2-0), who went 2 1/3 innings before Luis Santos allowed one run and two hits over 3 1/3 innings in his first big league game.

Turns out, the Orioles probably would have fared better against Stroman, Toronto's ace, than the prospects who replaced him.

"He's a really good pitcher, so you spend a good amount of time getting ready for that," Baltimore's Seth Smith said. "Whenever he's out, it changes the dynamic."

The right-hander gave up two hits and struck out three in 1 2/3 innings.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said: "There's a lot of unknown, and you get ambushed this time of the year easily with the way the rules are in September."

Showalter stressed he wasn't using that as an excuse for the Orioles' meager offensive output, but he also expressed his disdain for the expanded rosters and their impact on Baltimore's playoff push.

"It's tough. It's another thing that most who play the game don't like about this time of year," the manager said. "But it is what it is, and we're all playing under the same rules. So you deal with it."

Smith homered for the Orioles, who fell 2 1/2 games behind Minnesota for the final AL wild-card slot.

Kevin Pillar and Darwin Barney went deep for the last-place Blue Jays, who were in a 2-10 funk before winning two of three in a series that concludes Sunday.

Toronto was clinging to a two-run lead when Donaldson connected in the seventh off Richard Rodriguez, who was making his major league debut. Barney hit a two-run drive in the eighth to make it 7-0.

The Blue Jays played without Gibbons, who left to tend to personal business, according to the team.

Orioles starter Wade Miley (8-11) allowed a solo shot to Pillar in the fifth inning and a sacrifice fly to Kendrys Morales in the sixth. The left-hander is 1-3 against Toronto this season.

"I just want to go out there and give us a chance to win," Miley said. "Obviously, tonight I wasn't able to do that."

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Kevin Gausman changes jersey number to honor Roy Halladay

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Kevin Gausman changes jersey number to honor Roy Halladay

BALTIMORE  -- Orioles pitcher Kevin Gausman will wear No. 34 next season as a tribute to Roy Halladay, who was killed in a plane crash last month.

Gausman announced the switch Thursday on his Twitter account. The right-hander wore No. 39 last year.

Gausman and Halladay are both from Colorado, and the Orioles pitcher said he followed Halladay's career closely and idolized him.

In a post next a photo of his new jersey, Gausman wrote: "Roy gave me the inspiration that I could fulfill even my biggest of dreams -- being a pitcher just like him."

Gausman concluded: "The loss of Roy is tragic and saddening, but I feel honored to have watched everything he achieved."

Halladay died on Nov. 7 when his small plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. He played 16 big league seasons, winning the Cy Young Award in each league and being named an All-Star eight times.

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Astros, Dodgers set Series HR record amid juiced ball buzz

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Astros, Dodgers set Series HR record amid juiced ball buzz

HOUSTON (AP) -- Home runs kept flying over the wall at Minute Maid Park, on line drives up toward the train tracks, on fly balls that just dropped over the fence.

Seven more were hit in Game 5, raising the total to a World Series record 22 -- with two possible more games to play. Twenty-five runs were scored in a game started by the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw and the Astros' Dallas Keuchel, Cy Young Award winners regarded as among baseball's best.

After a season when sluggers outpaced even their steroid-era predecessors for home runs, some are convinced that something is amiss with the baseballs.

"The main complaint is that the balls seem a little bit different in the postseason, and even from the postseason to the World Series balls," Justin Verlander said Sunday, two days before he takes the mound in Game 6 and tries to pitch the Astros to their first title. "They're a little slick. You just deal with it. But I don't think it's the case of one pitcher saying, `Hey, something is different here.' I think as a whole, everybody is saying, `Whoa, something is a little off here.'"

A record eight home runs were hit in Game 2, including five in extra innings, and Game 5's seven long balls would have tied the old mark. The 13-12, 10-inning Astros' win Sunday night was the second-highest scoring game in Series history.

Keuchel was quoted as saying after Game 2: "Obviously, the balls are juiced."

Not so obvious to everyone, even amid the power surge.

"I haven't personally noticed anything. I haven't tried to think about it either," Dodgers reliever Brandon Morrow said after giving up two homers in Game 5. "It's not something you want to put in your own head."

Same for Kershaw, even after giving up his record eighth homer of the postseason Sunday.

"I don't really pay attention to it," Kershaw said. "I just assume that both sides are dealing with it, so I'm not going to worry about it."

This year's long ball assault topped the 21 of the 2002 Series. Anaheim hit seven and Barry Bonds and his San Francisco Giants slugged 14 over seven games. That was the year before survey drug testing.

Speculation that something has changed includes a study claiming to have found differences in the size and seam height of balls since the 2015 All-Star break.

"I know there was talk about different sizes and some of the baseballs were slightly bigger and some were smaller. Some of the seams were higher, some of the seams were lower. But, no, it's been consistent," said Rich Hill, who will start Game 6 for the Dodgers. "I think that just has to do with conditions -- if it's colder it's going to be slicker. If it's a little bit warmer out or humid, I think you're going to find that you're going to have a little bit more of moisture to the baseballs."

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred insists nothing nefarious is going on.

"I'm absolutely confident that the balls that we're using are within our established specifications," he said Friday.

Verlander rejected that assertion.

"I know Mr. Manfred said the balls haven't changed, but I think there's enough information out there to say that's not true," he said.

Verlander also does not think it's an issue of how balls are rubbed up before games.

"I know baseball uses the same mud for every single ball for every single game that's played," he said. "I think there's a broader issue that we're all missing."

On the day he become commissioner in January 2015, Manfred said, "I'm cognizant in the drop in offense over the last five years, and it's become a topic of conversation in the game, and it's something that we're going to have to continue to monitor and study."

Offense started rebounding during the second half of the season, and a record 6,105 home runs were hit this year, 2.4 percent more than the previous mark of 5,963 set in 2000 at the height of the Steroids Era.

"I think it's pretty clear," Verlander said. "I think our commissioner has said publicly that they wanted more offense in the game. I'm pretty sure I'm not fabricating a quote here when I say that. I think it was already All-Star break of `15, or right before, when he said that."

San Francisco's Johnny Cueto and Toronto's Marcus Stroman also think the balls have changed, with Stroman blaming slick balls for a rise in pitcher blisters -- an affliction which has struck Hill a few times in the past couple seasons, too.

Houston's Brent Strom and the Dodgers' Rick Honeycutt, the World Series pitching coaches, both were quoted by Sports Illustrated on Sunday as saying the slickness of the ball made throwing sliders difficult.

"Everyone is entitled to their opinion," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I don't see a ton difference, but I'm not going to get in a verbal war with coaches and players who think otherwise."

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had a similar view but acknowledged the power records got his attention.

"The pitchers talk about it feels different in their hand. The one component is the slickness and guys at different ballparks rub it up differently," he said. "Sort of feels the same to me. But it's hard to argue the numbers. You know there's more velocity. Guys are swinging harder. I know in Los Angeles the air was light. It was hot. The ball was flying, carrying more than typically. But I hesitate to try to give you any insight because I really don't know."

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