Dickey keeps building momentum

TORONTO – The props this morning belong to the Toronto Blue Jays offence, which is mercilessly bludgeoning opposition pitchers of late, but also worth noting is that R.A. Dickey is quietly putting together a nice little run.

Dickey allowed three runs on seven hits and three walks over 6.1 innings in Thursday’s 12-6 whipping of the Philadelphia Phillies, working out of trouble when he needed to. Coming in to the game, opponents were batting .324/.458/.622 with men in scoring position against him, but the Phils were only 2-for-8, both hits RBI singles.

“That’s one of the things I was most excited about, I was able to make big pitches in a couple of situations early when the game wasn’t out of hand yet and you never what can happen if you give up a hit, or leave one up or you walk another guy and it turns into a big inning,” said Dickey. “Thankfully, over the last two or three outings, I’ve been able to execute pitches with runners in scoring position, which I wasn’t doing early in the year. …

“It’s nice to get a little bit of momentum going as a starter.”

Dickey also struck out a season-high eight, and the Blue Jays have won three of the last four games he started. He left with a 6-2 lead over the Pirates on Saturday but that disappeared quickly in what finished as an 8-6 loss.

“I’m making strides,” he said. “I had a good (knuckleball on Thursday), I had a swing and miss one, it was comfortable out of my hand all night long. I did have an 0-2 walk and a four-pitch walk. If I can eliminate that, I can have some fun this year. The last four times through I’ve felt like I’ve been taking some positive steps and I feel like I’m pitching better than even my lines are showing.”

Edwin Encarnacion’s 200th career home run was part of a five-homer barrage by the Blue Jays, as Ben Nicholson-Smith details.

Manager John Gibbons had this to say about his offence: “We’ve got some pretty good approaches up there. We’re hitting some home runs, but it’s not like we’re trying to hit home runs. There’s a pretty good approach going on. Ride it. Ride it while it lasts.”

Jose Reyes stole two bases and scored three runs, earning praise from his manager. “That’s big,” said Gibbons. “That’s a big part of his game. It always has been. When he was brought over here, that’s what everybody expected. You can tell he’s feeling a lot more comfortable and we’re able to turn him loose.”

I took a closer look at Reyes’ hitting slump for a piece to be posted this morning.

Adam Lind hit a homer in his return from a back injury. Before the game he discussed his injury and possible ways to prevent a recurrence in the Blue Jays notebook.

Aaron Sanchez had an off night against Henry Owens in a matchup of top pitching prospects Thursday.

Sanchez only made it through three innings, allowing three runs on two hits and three walks, striking out two in double-A New Hampshire’s 8-2 loss at Portland, a Boston Red Sox affiliate.

Owens carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning, when Andy Burns hit a two-out RBI double.

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