TORONTO — Marcus Stroman was overcome with emotion as he left the field Wednesday in what could have been his final home start in a Toronto Blue Jays uniform.
The right-hander walked into the dugout after seven stellar innings in an eventual 4-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians, pumped his fist into his glove, looked up at the crowd and shouted loudly.
"I said 'this is my house' because it is," said Stroman, clad in a black T-shirt with an orange six on it when speaking with media after the game.
"I just thought it could be my last outing here. I've always been emotional, I feel like I've had a pretty good tenure as a Blue Jay. ... I feel like I've pitched pretty well in the best division in baseball.
"There's been no willingness from the front office to sign me so I've just kinda come to terms with it and I'm ready to dominate — wherever that may be — absolutely dominate."
Stroman (6-11), who allowed just one run and five hits with six strikeouts and a walk, has been mentioned in trade rumours for much of the season. With the July 31 deadline fast approaching, Stroman — a Blue Jay since he was drafted by the team in the first round in 2012 — could very likely be joining another team before his next scheduled start.
The 28-year-old threw 100 pitches, 60 for strikes, on Wednesday while lowering his earned-run average to 2.96, third best in the American League behind Charlie Morton and Justin Verlander.
Stroman's 3.42 ERA at Rogers Centre is also third-best among Toronto pitchers in franchise history behind Doyle Alexander (3.06) and Roy Halladay (3.23).
"I feel great," Stroman said. "I'm just excited (about) how good I feel. I feel like I've always been a second-half pitcher and my work ethic from this past off-season is really starting to show. And I'm having a pretty special second half.
"My stuff is beyond where I (thought) it would be at."
While Stroman impressed on the mound, Cleveland's Shane Bieber dominated.
The 24-year-old right-hander pitched the second complete game shutout of his career while allowing just one hit — a double from Eric Sogard to lead off the seventh inning that drew loud applause from the 25,385 in attendance.
Bieber (10-3) struck out 10 and allowed just two other base runners throughout the game via a walk to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the second inning and a hit by pitch to Lourdes Gurriel Jr in the seventh.
"It was a fun night," he said.
Bieber's last complete game shutout was on May 19 against Baltimore.
Cleveland is 5-0 in his last five starts.
"He just pitched like a veteran," said Cleveland manager Terry Francona. "He's maturing so fast. He's barely got a year under his belt. It just looks like he's going to get better and better. It's fun to watch."
Kevin Plawecki drove in the first run of the game for Cleveland (59-42), which won two-of-three at Rogers Centre to improve to 6-1 against the Blue Jays this season.
Oscar Mercado added a sacrifice fly in the eighth before the Indians tacked on two more in the ninth on a Jordan Luplow ground-out and a Greg Allen single.
Wednesday's loss was the eighth time the Blue Jays (39-65) had been shut out this season.
Cleveland scored its first run in the fifth when Greg Allen beat a throw to home plate after Plawecki's double. The Blue Jays challenged the umpire's safe call and it was upheld after video review.
That was the only run allowed by Stroman on the night. Daniel Hudson was charged with a run in the eighth, and Wilmer Font was tagged with two in the ninth.
"He did the same thing he's been doing his last five starts. ... this guy's a good pitcher," Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said of Stroman.
"Like I always say, every time he takes the mound we have a chance to win the game. And he did the same today. One run, that was it, he gave us a chance."
NOTES: The Blue Jays are off Thursday before beginning a three-game series against the division-rival Tampa Bay Rays Friday night at Rogers Centre.
Melissa Couto, The Canadian Press