In a different universe or space-time continuum, Joe Biagini could have thrown 7 shutout innings - or maybe even eight - before turning the ball over to the high leverage relievers to engage in a bullpen battle until the bats could maybe eke out a run.
Instead, in reality, Biagini ended up giving three runs, while the Jays were stiffled at the plate. The Jays trailed 3-0 going to the 8th so John Gibbons went to Jason Grilli, and he got absolutely shelled.
Biagini was really, really good against a tough lineup. He retired seven of the first eight batters, allowing just a two out walk to Aaron Judge, before Rob Refsnyder reached on a Troy Tulowitzki error. Biagini got Brett Gardner for the second out, but couldn't pick up Tulo, allowing an RBI double to Aaron Hicks and then another to Judge lined off Pillar's glove. That too was a play one would really want to see made, especially by a defender as good as Pillar.
Biagini settled in to retire the next 10 hitters, perfect over the middle innings and allowing just one ball out of the infield. He was outstanding, and worked into the 7th for the first time as a MLB starter. Once again, he didn't get help defensively, as Starlin Castro "doubled" to left on a ball Darwin Barney midread, starting back, and couldn't recover on as it bounced in front of him. Didi Gregorius then flared another ball just inside the left field line for another cheap double for the third run, after which Biagini retired the last three.
In the end Biagini allowed 3 runs (one earned) on 4 hits, all doubles. Of those, two were doubles that certainly could and probably should have been caught, with another a cheapie. Unique Joe issued just the one free pass, and struck out 6. The absolute worst one could say of the outing was he kept the Jays in the game.
I guess that means we're at the part of the program where Grilli must be discussed. By Statcast estimates, Grilli gave up about 1,150 feet of home runs. Gardner got him leading off. Hicks absolutely crushed a line drive, but fortunately right at Carrera. Matt Holliday hit a no doubter. Castro snuck one just over the wall in the left-centre alley. And Gregorius added one for
added humiliation good measure.
That was the merciful end, as J.P. Howell got the last out. I guess the silver lining is they were all solo shots, and it's not like they were of any real consequence in the end. But it did mean the Jays had to burn Danny Barnes in a completely meaningless 9th inning (though I don't really see why Howell didn't come back out, but alas).
The batters...the less said the better. They eked out three hits (and three total bases) in addition to five walks. They sort of threatened a few times, back-to-back one out walks in the 2nd inning; back-to-back singles leading off the 3rd; two on with two out in the 5th.
Jays of the Day: Biagini, despite the -0.007 WPA. Maile can have one too, he had more total bases than the rest of the team combined. I can't believe I just wrote that sentence.
Suckage: GRILLI (-0.067, a remarkable feat considering they were down three when he entered), Bautista (-0.126 WPA, 3K); Morales (-0.110, 2K); Barney (-0.077 and the misplay). All the position players, really, other than Maile.
Tomorrow, the Jays will try to split the series at 1:00 EDT with Marcus Stroman opposing Luis Severino.