Saunders stays hot to back Dickey vs. Braves

March 7th, 2016

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Michael Saunders hit yet another home run while R.A. Dickey tossed three scoreless innings in the Blue Jays' 3-1 victory over the Braves on Monday afternoon at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.

Saunders opened the scoring in the third inning with a solo shot to right field off right-hander Alexi Ogando. It was his third home run of the spring, coming on a 2-2 pitch. Saunders is now 5-for-11 with eight RBIs and three runs scored in four games this spring.

Kevin Pillar led off the game with a double for Toronto, and Ryan Goins added an RBI double in fourth. Troy Tulowitzki and Chris Colabello later got in on the action with a pair of singles in the sixth, which eventually resulted in a run scored when Junior Lake hit into a double play.

Dickey made his second start of the spring. Toronto's veteran knuckleballer faced the minimum thanks to a pair of routine double-play grounders that followed a single by Gordon Beckham and a walk by Jace Peterson. Right-hander Aaron Sanchez also tossed three innings and allowed one run on five hits while striking out three.

"I'm not quite there, but we still have three weeks left in camp, and I feel good physically," Dickey said. "I'm just trying to create a foundation that I can build on, and I feel like I'm able to do that mechanically. I think the No. 1 thing that I care about at this point is having a good mechanic.

"Are all three of my pitches that I mainly throw coming out of my hand in the strike zone and staying a strike for a long time? And the answer to that is yes right now."

Braves right-hander Aaron Blair had a relatively easy afternoon on the mound against a Toronto lineup that featured eight players who are expected to make the Opening Day roster. The 23-year-old retired six of the eight batters he faced and struck out three without issuing a walk. Ogando was charged with the one run while reliever John Gant also allowed one run on two hits with a strikeout.

Reserve outfielder Reid Brignac drove in Atlanta's lone run in the fifth inning with a two-out RBI single to right. Michael Bourn also added a single, and Beckham finished the day 2-for-3 with a run scored. With the loss, the Braves dropped to 1-5 this spring while the Blue Jays improved to 5-1. Each team also has one tie this spring.

Up next for Blue Jays: Right-hander Gavin Floyd will take the mound when the Blue Jays host the Twins in a 1:05 p.m. ET start on Tuesday afternoon at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. This will be Floyd's second start of the spring as he continues to compete for the final spot in the starting rotation alongside Aaron Sanchez, Jesse Chavez and Drew Hutchison. Other pitchers scheduled to appear include Roberto Hernandez, Ryan Tepera, Brad Penny, Steve Delabar and Chad Girodo.

Up next for Braves:Freddie Freeman will return to the lineup when Atlanta hosts the Mets on Tuesday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. ET. Matt Wisler will make his first start of the spring for the Braves. Wisler projects to serve as the third starter in Atlanta's rotation.