Blue Jays, Dickey overwhelm Angels in finale
TORONTO -- R.A. Dickey picked up his first complete game of the year while Edwin Encarnacion and Danny Valencia each homered in the Blue Jays' 8-4 victory over the Angels on Thursday night at Rogers Centre.
Dickey allowed a first-inning homer to Marc Krauss, but he settled down after that and enjoyed one of his best starts of the season. He limited the Angels to five hits and two walks and, along the way, recorded a season-high seven strikeouts. The pitching line is somewhat misleading because Los Angeles added a pair of runs with two outs in the ninth when the game was well in hand.
"We've been waiting for one of those," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "In the big leagues nowadays, especially in this park, a great offensive park, complete games are tough to come by. But Dickey was outstanding."
Jose Bautista had a pair of RBIs and Ryan Goins went 2-for-3 with a double and a pair of runs scored for Toronto. The Blue Jays did all of their damage against right-hander Matt Shoemaker, who allowed eight runs -- seven earned -- on eight hits and two walks with four strikeouts over six-plus innings.
Mike Trout went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and David Freese added a late two-run homer for the Angels in a losing effort.
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Encarnacion breaks it open: Dickey and Shoemaker were locked into a pitchers' duel until Encarnacion broke the game wide open in the fifth inning with a three-run shot to left field. According to Statcast™, Encarnacion's 10th of the year traveled 446 feet and left his bat at 109 mph. That gave the Blue Jays a 6-1 lead and it marked the 22nd home run that Encarnacion has hit in May 2014 and May '15 combined, which is the most of any player in the Major Leagues.
Long-ball troubles: Shoemaker served up a homer to Valencia to start the third and gave up the three-run homer to Encarnacion in the fifth, extending his American League-leading total to 13. That's just one home run fewer than what Shoemaker gave up last season, in 91 2/3 more innings. His ERA through eight starts is 6.29.
"I have to turn it around quick," Shoemaker said. "There's really no other way to say it other than it has to be done quicker to help this team out. I don't want to keep putting us in a bad situation." More >
Dickey delivers: Dickey surrendered those two runs in the ninth inning, but still found a way to put the finishing touches on the 14th complete game of his career. The veteran knuckleballer entered play on Thursday having allowed 13 runs over his previous 11 innings, but he was in fine form against the Angels. Dickey struck out more than four batters for the first time since April 18 and it was his first nine-inning complete game since a 3-0 victory over the Rangers on June 26, 2013. More >
Shut down again: The Angels' offense entered 29th in the Majors in runs per game and 30th in collective OPS, then got shut down by a knuckleballer with a 5.76 ERA. After Krauss' first-inning homer, the Angels -- without Albert Pujols, who sat out with soreness in his left hand -- got just three hits in their next 27 at-bats. Freese's two-run homer with two outs in the ninth kept the Angels from scoring three runs or less for the 23rd time.
"There's no doubt he had that thing moving good," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Dickey's knuckleball. "We got off to a fast start, but just couldn't get anything going."
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Encarnacion has hit 44 home runs in May while wearing a Blue Jays uniform, which trails only Carlos Delgado (54) for the most in franchise history. Overall, Encarnacion has 51 homers in May, which is his highest tally for any month.
Freese now has eight home runs, putting him on pace for a career-high 32. Last year, the Angels' third baseman didn't hit his eighth home run until Sept. 12. His 25 RBIs rank third among Major League third basemen.
"Every player has to be more vocal, do more cheerleading, just things to try to get the team going. We're rallying as hard as we can in here. We're not happy with the way things have gone all season. There's a lot of baseball left and it's just a matter of time before we click." -- Steve Tolleson, on getting the Blue Jays back on track
Angels corner outfielders Matt Joyce and Kole Calhoun turned in a couple of highlight-reel plays on Thursday. In the second, Joyce raced towards left-field foul territory and made a sliding catch on Josh Thole's fly ball just before banging into the wall. With two outs in the fifth, Calhoun made a diving catch in shallow right field to rob Kevin Pillar.
Angels: The Angels will take a short flight to Boston to finish up their 10-game, three-city East Coast trip with a weekend series at Fenway Park. Garrett Richards will start Friday's 7:10 p.m. ET series opener, opposite right-hander Rick Porcello. The 26-year-old Angels right-hander has a 2.29 ERA in his first six starts and will be pitching in Boston for the first time since rupturing his left patellar tendon while covering first base on Aug. 20.
Blue Jays: Right-hander Marco Estrada will take the mound at 7:07 p.m. ET when the Blue Jays open a three-game series against the Mariners on Friday night at Rogers Centre. Estrada has yet to throw more than five innings since joining the rotation on May 5, but he is now fully stretched out and pitch count should no longer be an issue. Home runs have been a problem, though, as Estrada has allowed at least one in each of his three starts.
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