Toronto Blue Jays relievers hold off Tampa Bay Rays after Hyun Jin Ryu injury

Apr 25, 2021; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu (99) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Santiago Espinal singled in the only run, five relievers shut down Tampa Bay in place of injured Toronto starter Hyun Jin Ryu and the Blue Jays blanked the Rays 1-0 Sunday afternoon in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Espinal went 2-for-4 with an RBI single, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. also provided two of the six hits by the Blue Jays, who won for the third time in four games.

In his fifth start, Ryu pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings but left after a two-out single by Manuel Margot in the fourth.

The South Korean lefty motioned to the dugout and was replaced by fellow southpaw Tim Mayza (1-0). The Blue Jays later said he sustained a minor right glute strain.

Ryu allowed three hits and one walk and struck out five in his no-decision.

Kevin Kiermaier had two of the five hits by Tampa Bay, which dropped two of three games in the series.

The prized piece in the trade that sent Blake Snell to San Diego, 21-year-old Luis Patino — the No. 2 organizational prospect, according to MLB Pipeline — made his Tampa Bay debut and was very impressive.

The Colombian right-hander overpowered Toronto in 2 2/3 hitless innings. He struck out three and walked one in the 42-pitch outing.

Josh Fleming (1-2) allowed one run on four hits in 4 1/3 innings pitched behind Patino, and 31-year-old Louis Head pitched a perfect eighth in his big-league debut.

Patino started spectacularly, striking out the side in the first after issuing a leadoff walk to Cavan Biggio. All three whiffs — Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Randal Grichuk — were recorded using a mid- to high-80 mph slider.

The Blue Jays got singles by Marcus Semien and Gurriel (bunt) to start the fifth before Espinal went after a low changeup that he sent softly into center to score Semien for the 1-0 lead.

After a fielder’s choice and a walk filled the bases, Fleming worked a foul-tip strikeout of Bichette on a 1-2 cutter to end the frame.

The Rays put two on to start the fifth, but reliever Tyler Chatwood retired Yandy Diaz, Randy Arozarena and Austin Meadows to finish off the threat.

Blue Jays relievers Ryan Borucki, David Phelps and Rafael Dolis (second save) combined for four hitless innings and three strikeouts in the win.

–Field Level Media