Too often this season R.A. Dickey has been on the other side of the equation, where the Blue Jays offence has gone missing during one of his starts.
Monday night at the Fenway Park bandbox that was definitely not the case as the Toronto pounded out 14 runs off 14 hits in support of the starter in a resounding 14-1 victory.
Dickey’s solid start was almost swallowed up among the gaudy offensive numbers the Blue Jays hung up against their American League East rival.
“I’ll take that any time,” Dickey said after the game, his record now 9-10 on the season. “I wish I could divide them up over three starts.”
Dickey’s knuckler enjoyed great movement and he added to the frustrations of the Red Sox batters by constantly altering the speed of his pitches.
He worked seven innings, allowing one walk off just three hits while striking out 10, a season high.
The victory was Toronto’s third in a row and eighth in their last 10 outings as the club has caught fire once again following the all-star break.
It was also the identical outcome to the game the two clubs played in Toronto on July 21 only it was the Red Sox who were on the good side of a 14-1 romp, a verdict that created much hand-wringing among fickle Blue Jays fans.
“Good one to be on the right side,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said.
Coming out of the break, the Blue Jays have won three consecutive series and are shooting for No. 4 after having manhandled the Red Sox in the first of a three-game set that will continue here tonight.
The Blue Jays (57-50) now enjoy a two game lead over the New York Yankees for second place in the A.L. East, 2 ½-games back of the front running Baltimore Orioles.
The sudden change in fortunes for the Blue Jays is surprising given that Gibbons is still having to stitch together odd lineups each game due to injuries to key personnel.
The team is still without Brett Lawrie (finger), Adam Lind (foot) and slugger Edwin Encarnacion (quad), who will all probably start filtering back to the starting lineup over the next couple of weeks.
Dickey credited the turnaround to subtle improvements in how the offence has gone about its business of late.
“I think today was a microcosm of kind of what we’ve done successfully after the break,” he said. “We’re called on to advance runners with a bunt, we get that done. You’re called on to get a guy in from third base with less than two outs, we hit a fly ball and score a run. So you’re doing the things that make baseball players good baseball players and we’re doing it fairly consistently.”
Of course, it always helps when Melky Cabrera swats two home runs in the contest, one from each side of the plate for just the sixth time in franchise history, driving in five of the Toronto runs.
Or that Ryan Goins, called up from Triple-A when the regulars started dropping, chips in with a four-hit, four-RBI night, both career highs.
Since being recalled from Triple-A Buffalo on July 22, Goins has hit safely in five of six starts for a .375 average with seven RBI.
“I think the night Melky had, that speaks for itself,” said Toronto catcher Josh Thole. “But with missing pretty much the middle of our lineup right now we’ve got to find a way to manufacture runs and put together AB’s (at-bats). Do the right thing - move guys over, guys in from third. We did that tonight.”