A sparkling Orioles debut from 35-year-old journeyman César Valdez in relief spared Cobb’s line from a worse fate, but it wasn’t the type of start that will inspire a team in contention to reach out to Baltimore (14-18) to trade for Cobb and his 2021 salary of $15 million.
Toronto right-hander Taijuan Walker, making his first start since being acquired in a deal with the Seattle Mariners, held Baltimore scoreless over six innings. He pitched all but the first of those with a lead.
Cobb retired the first two batters he faced before issuing a walk and allowing a single on which an error from right fielder Anthony Santander put two in scoring position. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. then rocketed the next pitch to left for a two-run single.
After two scoreless innings from Cobb, Guerrero started another rally in the fourth, singling and moving to third on Travis Shaw’s base hit. José Iglesias, playing shortstop for the first time in two weeks after coming off the injured list Thursday, couldn’t make a smooth transfer on the back end of a double play attempt, getting Shaw out at second but unable to get Derek Fisher at first as Guerrero scored Toronto’s third run.
A batter later, Joe Panik doubled to put two in scoring position for Cavan Biggio, who built the Blue Jays’ lead to five with a two-run single on an elevated Cobb splitter.
Cobb returned for the fifth but allowed the first two Blue Jays to reach, exiting with a 4.33 ERA.
Having not pitched in the majors in three years, Valdez didn’t look out of place. Replacing Cobb with two on and no outs in the fifth, Valdez’s first major league appearance since 2017 began with a matchup against Guerrero.
Valdez, who spent most of the past two years pitching in the Mexican League, worked three scoreless innings in relief, striking out five while not throwing any pitches above 88 mph.