Dickey, bullpen struggle as White Sox down Blue Jays

Chris Sale gave up just one run over eight innings and the White Sox crushed the Blue Jays 10-1.

TORONTO — R.A. Dickey has experienced his fair share of struggles early in the season.

After another demonstration of that Tuesday night, the 41-year-old knuckleballer is just happy to put his final start of the month behind him.

“I’m thankful April’s over, let’s put it that way,” Dickey said following a 10-1 loss to the visiting Chicago White Sox.

Dickey (1-3) started strong but unravelled as the game wore on. He allowed six runs on eights hits, including two homers, through six-plus innings while walking one and striking out three as Toronto fell to 10-12 on the year.

Dickey is 5-12 through 20 April starts since joining the Blue Jays in 2013. He’s given up 16 home runs over that span.

“It feels very familiar from the past years that I’ve been here, for myself and for the team,” said Dickey. “We’ve always been pretty much of a slow-starting team. It takes us a bit to find our rhythm and that’s the same for me in particular.

“Nobody in here is panicking at all and we’ve got the players in here to do it. It’s just a matter of being consistent and I’m speaking about me more than anybody.”

While Dickey struggled to find his rhythm, Chicago ace Chris Sale danced easily through the night.

The left-hander pitched eight stellar innings, allowing one run and four hits while walking two and striking out six to improve to 5-0.

“He used both sides of the plate and has that sweeping breaking ball,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “He did a good job changing speeds, reaching back for a little extra when he needed it. He attacks.

“You know going in you couldn’t afford to give up too many.”

Former Blue Jay Dioner Navarro hit a two-run homer while Avisail Garcia and Adam Eaton each hit solo blasts to power the White Sox to their fifth straight win. Austin Jackson had a two-run double and Zach Putnam got three strikeouts in the ninth.

Edwin Encarnacion supplied all the offence with his 200th career home run in a Toronto uniform.

Garcia put the White Sox on the board with a mammoth lead-off blast in the third inning. The Chicago DH launched a 3-1 offering from Dickey that hit the second deck’s facade in centre field for a 1-0 lead.

The home run was only the second allowed by Dickey this season. He gave up his third, the two-run job to Navarro, in the seventh inning to end his night.

“That was a Toronto home run, that’s just the way the park is,” Dickey said of Navarro’s shot. “(Navarro) even put his head down four steps into the trot and yelled an obscenity because he knew he missed it but it carried out.

“I thought I made some really good pitches tonight and it just seems like this month I’m getting every bad break. I need that one ball to be hit right at somebody or that third strike to be called on that 3-2 count, but it’ll turn. It’ll turn. It’s not time to pout. It’s a long season.”

Dickey ran into most of his trouble in the fifth, loading the bases with nobody out before giving up a two-run double to Jackson. Eaton followed with a sacrifice fly to extend Chicago’s lead to 4-0.

An RBI single from Jose Abreu off Toronto reliever Joe Biagini, in to replace Dickey, made it 7-0 in the seventh.

Encarnacion responded in the bottom of the inning by sending a 92 mile-per-hour fastball from Sale into the centre-field seats.

Eaton’s solo homer and an RBI single from Todd Frazier, both off Drew Storen in the ninth, gave Chicago a 9-1 lead. The White Sox added another run on a sac fly from Garcia off Pat Venditte.

NOTES: Matt Dominguez, in his Blue Jays debut, was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts but made a couple of nice defensive plays at third base. … Tulowitzki recorded his first error as a Blue Jay in the first inning. It was his first error since July 20 last year, snapping a string of 64 regular-season games. … Toronto closes its three-game series against the White Sox on Wednesday night. Right-hander Marco Estrada (1-1, 2.50 earned-run average) will start for the Blue Jays. Chicago counters with left-hander Jose Quintana (2-1, 1.82 ERA). … The White Sox have won five straight series against Toronto.

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