Blue Jays beat Rangers to win fourth straight

Blue Jays starting pitcher R.A. Dickey throws against the Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington,...

Blue Jays starting pitcher R.A. Dickey throws against the Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Tex., June 15, 2013. (TIM SHARP/Reuters)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:13 PM ET

ARLINGTON, TEX. - R.A. Dickey made a triumphant return to the scene of the crime, as it were, in facing his former employer, the Texas Rangers.

A first-round draft pick of the Rangers in 1996, Dickey played parts of five seasons for the club before departing following the 2006 season.

Dickey hasn’t started against the Rangers since July 31, 2008, while pitching for the Seattle Mariners.

But it was worth the wait.

Keeping to his frustrating script of good start-bad start, Dickey was due for a good one following a less-than-stellar outing against the Chicago White Sox in the fog last Monday when he gave up seven runs in five innings.

In his previous start to that one, against the Giants in San Francisco, the knuckleballer allowed two hits over 8.1 scoreless innings.

Dickey’s outing Saturday was definitely more San Fran than Chicago. He allowed one run on seven hits over 5.2 innings.

The Jays would go on to post a 6-1 victory, marking their third consecutive win over the Rangers, who have been limited to two runs in the opening three games of the series.

Dickey was good but he wasn’t at his best, and when a starter can win those games, gut it out to a degree, the pitcher finds them that much more rewarding.

“I had consistently more velocity than I had all year, which calls for optimism for me going forward,” Dickey said. “I was able to make some bigger pitches with bases loaded and runners on in scoring position and manage the outing well enough to win.

“At the end of the year you take your four best and your four worst, and it’s the other 22 starts in the middle that are really who you are. You’ve got to try to win games like this when your teams gives you a lead.”

It’s winning with your ‘B’ stuff, and for the Jays to make some noise in the division they will need a number of similar outings from the other members of the rotation.

“It’s a game where I didn’t have my best knuckleball but had a good enough one to survive the outing but not much more” Dickey said. “On a different day, it might have been different but today I was just trying to survive it.”

He is romantic of nature enough to appreciate pitching in this stadium against this organization where for him it all began.

“It’s somewhat nostalgic to come back here,” he said. “This is where the discovery of the absence of the ligament was made. This is where I started my knuckleball career. I have a lot of great memories here and a lot of tough memories here. It’s always fun to come back and perform well with the organization you were drafted by.”

It was not fun and there were no great memories for the Rangers, though.

They scored their lone run in the sixth inning to snap a string of 21 consecutive scoreless innings against the Jays.

It was also the fourth win in a row for the Jays, who have won seven of their past nine.

They are making a push but they would rather not discuss it.

“I don’t want to fall back into that trap,” Dickey said. “It’s a one-game-at-a-time mentality that we need to have. We’ve been playing good baseball lately.

“We just need to keep doing that.”

Offensively the Jays once again relied on the long ball. They received two-run home runs from Adam Lind and Colby Rasmus.

Lind, who is hitting everything that comes to the plate, ripped a 1-2 breaking ball from Josh Lindbloom off the foul pole in right in the first inning to give the Jays a quick 2-0 lead. It was his seventh homer of the season and allowed him to record a hit in 16 of his past 18 games.

Rasmus’ bomb occurred in the fourth after a Lind single. With the count full, Lindbloom came in with a breaking ball, Rasmus was sitting on it and he ripped it into the seats in right for his 12th homer of the season and second home run in his past two games.

“It was a curveball,” Lind said of what he crushed. “I was kind of looking for it after the way the last two days have gone. It’s how they’ve pitched me. I guessed lucky one time.”

As for the team and their little streak, like Dickey, Lind would rather not talk about it.

“It’s four games in a row. It’s fun. It’s nice, everyone, bullpen, starters, hitters, defence ... it’s been a good four games,” he said.

Turned a corner?

“Man I’ve heard: ‘Turn the corner or: ‘That’s what we needed’ a lot this year,” he said. “We’re just trying to win games day by day.”

The last four games, the Blue Jays have done just that.


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