Biagini sets up win in his first major-league start
Even though he didn’t get the win, Joe Biagini set one up for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Biagini and four relievers combined on a three-hitter, Darwin Barney hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning as Toronto beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 2-1, Sunday afternoon.
The Blue Jays took two of three from the Rays to win a road series for the first time this season (1-4-1).
Biagini allowed an unearned run, two hits and struck out four over four innings in his first major league start. The right-hander was inserted into the Toronto rotation after 74 career relief appearances due to injuries to Aaron Sanchez and J.A. Happ, and Mat Latos being designated for assignment.
“The goal for me was always to start in the major leagues,” Biagini said. “To say that I did that is pretty cool.”
Toronto manager John Gibbons said Biagini will remain in the rotation.
Aaron Loup, Ryan Tepera (2-1), Joe Smith and Roberto Osuna combined to hold the Rays to one hit over five innings.
Osuna walked Steven Souza Jr. and gave up a single to Colby Rasmus with two outs in the ninth before striking out Daniel Robertson to get his fourth save. Toronto’s bullpen hasn’t allowed an earned run in its last 13 1/3 innings.
“Bullpens go in cycles just like everything else, but our guys are starting to step up and establish themselves,” Gibbons said.
Barney put the Blue Jays up 2-1 with his first homer of the year. He connected off Alex Cobb (2-3), who gave up two runs and four hits in eight innings.
“I thought Cobb was phenomenal,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “You saw two polar opposites, with a guy that was buzzing through a lineup by himself, and you saw a combination of guys buzz through another lineup.”
The lone run off Biagini came in the third when Kevin Kiermaier reached on second baseman Devon Travis’ fielding error and scored on Corey Dickerson’s two-out single. The Jays tied it in the sixth on Kevin Pillar’s double and came home on Russell Martin’s two-out single.
TRAINER’S ROOM Blue Jays: Sanchez (split fingernail) felt no pain and was “very encouraged” following a 33-pitch bullpen session. He is due to pitch Tuesday at extended spring training and could rejoin the rotation after . ... Happ (left elbow) is throwing from 90 feet on flat ground. BAUTISTA’S BLUES Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista went 0 for 13, including seven strikeouts, in the series. His batting average dropped to .174.
UP NEXT Jays: RHP Marcus Stroman (2-2) starts Monday night against Cleveland RHP Trevor Bauer (2-3). Stroman was pulled after three innings, his shortest start in three years, in an 8-6 loss to the Yankees Wednesday night because of tightness in his right armpit.
Toronto Blue Jays’ starter Joe Biagini allowed an unearned run, two hits and struck out four over four innings against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.