ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon was impressed by Roberto Hernandez’s start. The only problem was Toronto’s R.A. Dickey was even more dominating.
Dickey pitched a two-hitter for his first complete game of the year, Jose Reyes went 0 for 4 in his return from a two-month layoff and the Blue Jays beat the Rays 3-0 Wednesday for their 12th win in 14 games.
“He was on the top of his game,” Maddon said of Dickey.
Hernandez (4-9) was pretty good, too, giving up three runs and six hits in eight-plus innings.
“I think Roberto was fantastic,” Maddon said. “That was probably his best game all year. Both sides pitched well.”
Dickey (7-8) retired his first 13 batters before James Loney grounded a single between shortstop and third base with one out in the fifth. Yunel Escobar had a one-out single in the sixth, then was erased when Matt Joyce hit a double-play grounder.
“I think the most frustrating thing is for Roberto to go out there and pitch so well — the last couple starts he’s really pitched deep into games and pitched really well for us — and we just haven’t been able to come up with a win and score runs,” Joyce said.
Hernandez struck out five and walked one.
“I’m happy about my start today,” he said. “As I’m pitching more innings, I’m feeling more comfortable.”
Dickey struck out six and walked one. The knuckleballer pitched a one-hitter for the New York Mets against the Rays on June 13 last year, allowing B.J. Upton’s first-inning infield single.
“We didn’t hit, I think, even one ball hard,” Maddon said.
Only one Tampa Bay runner advanced past first base. Desmond Jennings walked and stole second in the seventh.
“Before the series began, two out of three against these guys would have been outstanding,” Maddon said. “That’s what we got.”
Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion homered for the Blue Jays, who had lost two in a row after tying their team record of 11 straight wins.
Reyes, the All-Star shortstop traded from Miami to Toronto during the offseason, had been sidelined since severely spraining his left ankle sliding into second base during an April 12 game at Kansas City. He grounded out three times, stranding runners on second in the third and fifth innings, and also flied out. His average dropped from .397 to.357 (15 for 42).
He also made a nifty defensive play in the first inning, going into the hole to make a backhanded grab and then throw out Jennings at first.
Jose Bautista doubled leading off the fourth and scored on Melky Cabrera’s two-out single. Lind homered in the sixth and Encarnacion in the ninth.
NOTES: To make room for Reyes, Toronto optioned SS Munenori Kawasaki to Triple-A Buffalo after Tuesday’s game. It was a move that prompted manager John Gibbons to hold a team meeting to announce the news. “It’s always tough sending anybody out, but there’s something special about this guy,” Gibbons said. “He was so well-liked and loved by this teammates. He’ll be back.” Gibbons said this is first time he has done something like that in his managerial career. … The game was played in 2 hours, 10 minutes. … 2B Ben Zobrist took a hit away from Lind in the second, diving to his right to field a hard shot and then throwing to first.