CLEVELAND (AP) — Cavan Biggio hit a two-run homer to break a scoreless tie in the eighth inning after Toronto lost starting pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu to a knee injury, lifting the Blue Jays to a 3-1 victory over the Cleveland Guardians on Monday night.
Biggio’s 415-foot drive to center field came off reliever Enyel De Los Santos (4-2) and scored Daulton Varsho. Toronto had been held to one hit over the first seven innings by Guardians rookie Gavin Williams, who struck out a season-high 12.
Ryu was struck on the right kneecap by Oscar Gonzalez’s line drive that turned into the final out of the fourth, forcing him to exit with a bruised knee in his second start since undergoing Tommy John surgery in June 2022.
The 36-year-old left-hander tossed four hitless innings but was removed to start the fifth.
Cleveland pulled to 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth when Bo Naylor singled in Brayan Rocchio, but Toronto answered in the ninth with George Springer’s RBI single that scored Brandon Belt.
Erik Swanson (3-2) pitched the seventh and Jordan Hicks worked the ninth, permitting the Guardians to load the bases before picking up his 10th save. The Blue Jays remained in possession of the third and final AL wild-card spot.
Williams, making his ninth start since being recalled from Triple-A Columbus on June 21, was brilliant in allowing one hit over seven innings. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. doubled in the first and was the only Toronto baserunner to get past first until De Los Santos entered.
Earlier in the day, Guardians third baseman Jose Ramirez was suspended three games and White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson received a six-game ban for initiating a bench-clearing melee with their fight at second base Saturday.
Both players are appealing their penalties and remain able to play, but Cleveland closer Emmanuel Clase and manager Terry Francona both served their one-game suspensions Monday. Bench coach DeMarlo Hale filled in for Francona.
“I don’t hate the fact that Clase is unavailable and I hope Ramírez begins his suspension tomorrow,” Toronto manager John Schneider quipped.
Blue Jays left fielder Davis Schneider, the third player in major league history with at least nine hits in his first three games, went 0 for 4 in his fourth. He was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo last Friday when Toronto began a series in Boston.
The Guardians are in the midst of a trying five-week stretch that has seen them fall well out of first place in the AL Central, trade starting shortstop Amed Rosario and right-hander Aaron Civale, lose pitchers Shane Bieber and Cal Quantrill to injuries, and engage in the now-infamous brawl at Progressive Field.
“I catch myself gritting my teeth and I’ve been short with people,” Francona said. “I get it. It has been challenging. I think now is when we earn our keep, so I just need to remember that.”
Blue Jays: SS Bo Bichette (right patellar tendinitis), hurt while running the bases July 31 against Baltimore, has not been cleared to run or hit. John Schneider said the two-time All-Star has yet to swing a bat because of his “unique hitting style that puts torque on his back knee.”
Guardians: C David Fry (hamstring) will be placed on the injured list Tuesday, but was available in an emergency as a defensive replacement. OF Ramón Laureano was claimed off waivers from Oakland and will be added to the active roster in Fry’s spot upon his arrival in Cleveland.
Blue Jays LHP Yusei Kikuchi (9-3, 3.67 ERA) faces RHP Tanner Bibee (7-2, 3.14) in the second game of the four-game series. Kikuchi has allowed four earned runs in 20 career innings against Cleveland.