CLEVELAND (AP) — Cavan Biggio hit a two-run homer to break a scoreless tie in the eighth inning, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Cleveland Guardians 3-1 on Monday night after losing starting pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu to a knee injury.
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.
“Cavan made the clutch plays offensively and defensively for us,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “It was just an awesome night for him. He’s a true baseball player.”
Ryu was struck on the right kneecap by Oscar Gonzalez’s line drive in the fourth, but fielded the ball and turned it into the final out of the inning. He was forced 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 before being helped off the field. He was undergoing X-rays after the game.
“The ball just got me on the knee and left a bruise,” Ryu said through a translator. “I didn’t hurt it running or making the play.”
Cleveland cut its deficit to 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth when Bo Naylor singled in Brayan Rocchio against Tim Mayza. Biggio ended the inning one batter later by fielding Steven Kwan’s grounder to second and turning it into a double play.
“I just trusted my instincts,” Biggio said. “My first reaction was to get the ball, tag (Naylor) and then I went to first.”
Toronto tacked on an insurance run in the ninth on George Springer’s RBI single that scored Brandon Belt. The Blue Jays remained in possession of the third and final AL wild-card spot.
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.
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.
“I feel like I had all my pitches working and I carried that all through the game,” said Williams, the first Cleveland rookie with 12 strikeouts since Luis Tiant in 1964 against the Kansas City Athletics. “It’s nice just finding that groove.”
Earlier in the day, Guardians third baseman José Ramírez 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.
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.
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.