TORONTO -- Welcome to the big leagues, Cavan Biggio.
After two hitless games following the 24-year-old infielder’s callup to the Majors on Friday, Biggio broke out in a big way on Sunday in Toronto’s 10-1 series finale win over the Padres at Rogers Centre.
In Biggio’s first at-bat of the game in the second inning -- the seventh of his Major League career -- the Blue Jays' second baseman notched his first big league hit before coming around to score his first run in the Majors.
“You just want to get that first hit, and you want to get that monkey off your back,” Biggio said. “After I got that first hit in my first at-bat, I felt like I could finally exhale and finally just play the game. So yeah, it was a big relief.”
Biggio took the excitement up a notch in his second at-bat of Sunday’s affair, sending a 1-2 pitch 405 feet into the right-field stands for his first Major League home run. The solo shot helped the Blue Jays to a 3-0 lead in the fourth. He added his third hit of the game in a four-run fifth inning for the Blue Jays, an RBI single to extend the home team’s lead. A number of family and friends, including his Hall of Fame father Craig, were in attendance for his big day.
“I’ve always wanted to do what my dad did, ever since a young age,” Biggio said. “And I’m finally here and we’ve kind of switched roles. He’s in the seats now and I’m on the field. So that’s pretty cool because it’s everything I ever wanted.”
Toronto’s second baseman became the 10th player in franchise history to record a three-hit game within his first three games in the Majors. The last player to do so was fellow Toronto rookie Rowdy Tellez, on Sept. 6, 2018.
Biggio’s breakout highlighted an onslaught of offence for the home team. For the third consecutive game since his return from Triple-A Buffalo, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. homered. The left fielder added two singles, a double, two RBIs and three runs scored in the first four-hit game of his career.
“The kids, it’s fun,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “In [the fourth] inning, when Gurriel went deep and then Biggio went deep, that was fun to watch. It gave me the chills, like man, that’s why I love this job, that’s why I came here, to see that. That was fun.”
Justin Smoak homered twice in the matchup, launching a two-run shot to centre field in the fifth and a three-run blast to right for his third home run in the last two days in the eighth inning. The first baseman leads the team with 11 homers.
After going hitless in his last 14 at-bats, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had three knocks in Sunday’s matinee, with two singles and a double.
For his second consecutive start, Marcus Stroman was the recipient of a barrage of run support, after entering the game with the lowest amount -- 18 runs of support over 64 innings -- in the Majors. Stroman allowed one run on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts in his five innings of work, all while fighting through an illness.
“I didn’t feel too good,” Stroman said. “Just a little nauseous, a little dizzy, we’ve kind of been battling a little bug around the clubhouse a little bit, guys have been feeling under the weather. But at the end of the day, I kind of just pitch off adrenaline and when I’m out there, kind of push everything else to the side.”
Biggio, a native of Houston, Texas, earned his call after slashing .307/.445/.504 with six home runs, seven doubles, a triple and 26 RBIs in 42 games with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons. Last season, he was named the Eastern League MVP after a season with Double-A New Hampshire that saw him hit .252/.388/.499 with 26 home runs, 23 doubles, five triples and 99 RBIs over 132 games.
After that MVP season, Biggio went home to work on his swing and continue to make adjustments because he wasn’t satisfied with the results. His manager with the Fisher Cats, John Schneider, is now a part of the Major League coaching staff with the Blue Jays and couldn’t be more impressed with what the infielder has done.
“It’s a huge credit to him, because it’s like, ‘Cool, I was the MVP and I’m going to make some adjustments,’” Schneider said. “That’s awesome. That’s just who he is, never satisfied. And he’ll continue to do that while he’s here, which is the most exciting part about him.”