Darwin's theory: Barney's late HR lifts Jays

Darwin's theory: Barney's late HR lifts Jays

ST. PETERSBURG -- Darwin Barney's first home run of the season proved to be the difference Sunday afternoon, propelling the Blue Jays to a 2-1 win over the Rays at Tropicana Field.

The victory earned the Blue Jays (11-20) a series win against the Rays (16-17) for the second consecutive weekend.

"I was lucky to get one that was not necessarily on the black in there and get the head out on it," said Barney, who hadn't homered since last August. "You don't see pitches like that very well. It just happens and then you look back on it."

Rays starter Alex Cobb fell behind Barney 1-0 with one out in the eighth. Barney then re-routed a 90 mph fastball 401 feet into the left-field stands. According to Statcast™, the barrelled ball had a 29 degree launch with a 100.8-mph exit velocity.

"I'd probably execute it a little better," said Cobb when asked if he'd throw a fastball again in that situation. "It was supposed to be in and off the plate. It kind of came back over the plate. Any pitch in that situation's not a bad decision. It's the execution."

Inbox: Is Beckham here to stay at short?

Cobb put forth his best start since coming back from Tommy John surgery at the end of the 2016 season, but came away with his third loss of the season. More >

Cobb fans Martin

Corey Dickerson's third-inning single off Joe Biagini drove home the game's first run, putting the Rays ahead. The Blue Jays tied the game in the sixth when Russell Martin singled off Alex Cobb to drive home Kevin Pillar.

Martin's RBI single

"We couldn't get anything going all night. Cobb basically shut us down," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Of course you get the big hit out of [Martin] and then Barney out of nowhere, he's not known for his power. Nice ballgame."

Sanchez throws pain-free bullpen session 

Big K: Daniel Robertson drew a two-out walk from Ryan Tepera in the seventh, bringing Kevin Kiermaier to the plate with the score tied at 1. Robertson stole second, putting the go-ahead run into scoring position. Tepera threw a fastball for strike one before Kiermaier fouled off the second pitch when Tepera went back to the fastball. Kiermaier watched a sinker for ball one to move the count to 1-2. Tepera then threw a cutter that Kiermaier swung through for strike three to end the threat.

Tepera fans Kiermaier

Biagini's first start: Biagini got pressed into starting duty in the aftermath of the Blue Jays designating Mat Latos for assignment. The right-hander had never made a start in the Major Leagues, and he wasn't stretched out for more than a long-relief stint. He allowed just two hits while striking out four in four innings. The lone run that scored on his watch was unearned. More >

Biagini's first career start

"I probably smell worse than I do after bullpen outings because of the length of time, letting it kind of stew a little bit." -- Biagini, joking about how he reflects on his first big league start

Barney's shot marked the 11th time in Blue Jays history that a No. 9 hitter has hit the go-ahead homer in the eighth inning or later, and only the fourth time it has happened on the road.

The Rays have made four straight quality starts for the first time since July 26-30, 2016, when Chris Archer, Matt Moore, Jake Odorizzi, and Drew Smyly completed the feat.

Blue Jays: Marcus Stroman will get the nod as Toronto returns home to Rogers Centre to open a three-game set with the Indians on Monday at 7:07 p.m. ET. The right-hander, who is 2-2 with a 3.89 ERA, was removed in the third inning of an 8-6 loss to the Yankees on Wednesday because of tightness in his right armpit, but has been cleared to continue on schedule without missing any time.

Rays: Blake Snell (0-2, 3.45) will make the start as the Rays welcome the Royals to Tropicana Field for a four-game series on Monday. Snell is seeking length in his starts. He has gone five innings or less in five consecutive starts, nine of his last 10, and 13 of his last 15. This will be the first time he's faced the Royals.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Jeff Odom is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Petersburg who covered the Blue Jays on Sunday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.