R.A. Dickey hasn’t lived up to expectations with the Toronto Blue Jays after his NL Cy Young season in 2012, but he had the knuckleball going on Thursday before leaving the game early due to injury. The Blue Jays went on to beat the Chicago White Sox 3-1 as Dickey left after the sixth inning due to soreness in his back.
The 38-year-old knuckleballer shut down the White Sox before the Blue Jays made a precautionary move and took him out of the game before the seventh inning. Dickey had the White Sox in tangles and was on the way to his first complete game of the season before the setback.
Dickey’s six strong innings was still enough as the Blue Jays bullpen held of the White Sox over the final three innings. Rajai Davis made the difference at the plate and went two-for-four with a key RBI in the fifth inning.
Edwin Encarnacion got the Blue Jays on the board in the first when he drove in Davis with a single to shallow left. The score remained 1-0 until the fifth when the Blue Jays extended their lead to three runs.
Munenori Kawasaki got the bats going with an RBI-single before Davis drove him in with a double later in the fifth inning. A 3-0 lead was more than enough for Dickey, who gave up no runs on two hits and seven strikeouts before leaving with back soreness.
Esmil Rodgers came into the game in relief of Dickey and pitched a scoreless seventh inning. Rodgers then struck out John Danks to start the eighth before giving up a single to Alexi Ramirez.
Rodgers was pulled after the single for left-hander Aaron Loup who gave up a double to Tyler Flowers that drove in Ramirez. The earned run was given to Rodgers as he gave up the single to Ramirez before being relieved.
With the Blue Jays lead down to two runs, Cam Janssen came in to close out the White Sox in the ninth. He wouldn’t have any problems as he shut down the White Sox in order for his fifth save of the season.
Manager John Gibbons gave Dickey all the credit for his big performance but noted that he didn’t want to push his ace after tightness became an issue in his back.
“It was a gutsy performance,” Gibbons told the press after the game. “It’s been bothering him for a couple days. Going into tonight we didn’t know what we were going to get.”
Gibbons got everything he needed from Dickey and wouldn’t have used his bullpen if it wasn’t for the muscle spasms. Dickey’s toughness was apparent and the team has high hopes that he will return for his next start in five days.
Will R.A. Dickey’s back soreness affect his pitching over the next few starts for the Toronto Blue Jays?
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