Blue Jays 4 Mariners 0
TORONTO — If Joe Biagini keeps it up, he may just become a full-time member of the Toronto Blue Jays’ rotation.
Biagini worked into the sixth inning Friday and the bullpen took care of the rest as the Blue Jays blanked the Seattle Mariners 4-0 at Rogers Centre.
It was the second start of the season for the right-hander, who has yet to give up an earned run since joining the injury-plagued rotation. Biagini allowed four hits and didn’t walk a batter as Toronto extended its winning streak to three games.
“He did a tremendous job and they’ve got a good lineup over there,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “He shut them down.”
Jose Bautista hit a two-run homer and Devon Travis drove in the other two runs as Toronto (15-21) won for the fifth time in six games. Four relievers combined with Biagini on the seven-hit shutout.
“That was a big one tonight and it started with Biagini,” Travis said. “That guy is nasty man, I’ll tell you.”
The Blue Jays manufactured a run in the second inning against Christian Bergman after Steve Pearce and Ryan Goins reached on singles. Darwin Barney moved the runners up with a sacrifice bunt and a slow grounder from Travis brought Pearce home.
Pearce saved a couple runs with his defence in the third inning. With two runners in scoring position, Ben Gamel hit a flare to shallow left field that a diving Pearce snagged for the final out.
Bautista made it a three-run game in the bottom half of the frame. With Kevin Pillar aboard, Bautista belted a 2-1 pitch off the foul screen in left field for his fourth homer of the year.
After an ugly 2-11 start, the Blue Jays have gone 13-10 since. Toronto outhit Seattle 10-7.
“Every single guy builds off the guy in front of him,” Travis said. “When we have a lineup like that, hits are contagious, good swings are contagious, winning is contagious.
“If we can continue to keep that going, I think things are going to turn around here pretty quickly.”
The Blue Jays improved to 4-1 on their nine-game homestand. Seattle (17-19) has dropped two in a row after winning four straight games.
“You don’t score, you’re not going to win,” said Mariners manager Scott Servais.
Biagini (1-1) did not allow an earned run over four innings in his first start last weekend and was just as strong on this occasion.
“He’s got four-plus pitches,” Travis said. “The heater is 94, I’ve never faced him, but it looks like it’s hitting a bowling ball.
“He’s got a great cutter. He’s got a great curveball that can make you flinch. He’s got a great change-up that he’s been using a lot more as a starter.”
Biagini, working on a limit of 70-75 pitches, was pulled after giving up a leadoff single in the sixth.
He fanned three batters and threw 47 of his 68 pitches for strikes.
“The bullpen is tough for a lot of reasons but starting is tough for a lot of reasons, so I’m trying to take the positives out of everything,” Biagini said.
Aaron Loup came on for Biagini and got Gamel to hit into a fielder’s choice. Danny Barnes then replaced the Toronto southpaw and put runners on the corners before fanning former Blue Jay Danny Valencia.
Bergman (0-1), meanwhile, pitched five innings and allowed three earned runs, seven hits and a walk with one strikeout.
The Blue Jays added an insurance run in the sixth when a Travis sacrifice fly brought home Goins.
Barnes gave up back-to-back singles to open the seventh before striking out Carlos Ruiz and Jarrod Dyson. Ryan Tepera came on to face hot-hitting Jean Segura and got him to fly out.
Tepera also worked a clean eighth inning and Roberto Osuna pitched a 1-2-3 ninth. Announced attendance was 32,865.
Notes: Right-hander Marcus Stroman is scheduled to start for the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon. The Mariners have yet to name their starter. … Toronto shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (hamstring) will begin a rehab assignment Saturday in Florida. If all goes well, he’s tabbed to re-join the Blue Jays on Wednesday in Atlanta. … The game took two hours 36 minutes to play. … After the four-game series against Seattle, the Blue Jays will cap the homestand with a two-game interleague mini-set against Atlanta starting Monday.