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Blue Jays hold on to early lead, beat Brewers 4-3

Kendrys Morales homered in the fifth for two RBIs.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Milwaukee Brewers
Kendrys Morales is congratulated by third base coach Luis Rivera after hitting a home run during the fifth inning.
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports


Battling the Milwaukee Brewers for the first of two games, the Blue Jays scored and led early, and, despite allowing three innings late in the game, Toronto held on for the win.

Similar to Sunday’s win against the Baltimore Orioles, most of Toronto’s offense came early in the game. The first inning passed scoreless for both teams, but the Blue Jays got on the board in the second. Devon Travis began the inning with a single, extending his hit streak to eight games, followed by two singles and a walk to make it 1-0 for the Blue Jays. Joe Biagini reached base safely on a force out, driving in the second run of the game.

Biagini was making the fourth major-league start of his career. Biagini’s “temporary” conversion to a starter has been unexpectedly extended by delayed recoveries to the three injured Blue Jay starters — J.A. Happ, Francisco Liriano and Aaron Sanchez. Given the success of the transition so far, Toronto faces some tricky decisions with their starting rotation, especially with Sanchez’s blister and extended workload. Is it too crazy to speculate Sanchez may be moved back to the bullpen?

Biagini didn’t allow a run until the fifth, when he gave up three. The bottom half of the inning started with three consecutive singles, and another single later in the inning brought Milwaukee within a run of Toronto’s lead. Danny Barnes, in relief, eventually stopped the bleeding. Biagini’s final line showed three earned runs, three walks, five hits and three strikeouts.

Kendrys Morales had a two-run home run in the lead, and Anthony Alford collected his first career hit on a double in the seventh. Ryan Goins combated a 1-for-26 slump with an RBI single and Jose Bautista, starting at third base for the first time since April 2013, made two slick plays on hard-hit balls.

Tomorrow, the Blue Jays will wrap up their series in Milwaukee with a 1:10 ET start time. Marcus Stroman gets the start for the Blue Jays (one can only thank the baseball gods that Stroman will bat), while Matt Garza will head to the mound for the Brewers.

Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkColley.