R.A. Dickey slowed Tampa Bay’s stretch run, leading the Toronto Blue Jays to a 6-3 victory Friday night that stopped the Rays’ seven-game winning streak.
Tampa Bay wasted a 2-0 lead and committed a season-high three errors, including a pair by two-time Gold Glove third baseman Evan Longoria. The Rays began the night with a magic number of two over Texas for clinching an AL wild-card berth.
Dickey (14-13) allowed two runs and five hits in 7 1-3 innings, retiring 13 of 14 during one stretch. The 38-year-old knuckleballer, acquired from the New York Mets during the offseason after he won the NL Cy Young Award, struggled earlier this season but finished strongly, going 5-1 with a 3.17 ERA in his last seven starts.
Tampa Bay, which had won seven of its previous nine against Toronto, went ahead on home runs by Ben Zobrist in the first and Delmon Young in the second, his second in two games. Dickey allowed 35 homers, one behind the major league-high total of Oakland’s A.J. Griffin (36).
Hellickson retired nine in a row before Jose Reyes singled n the fourth. After a sacrifice, Brett Lawrie reached on Longoria’s fielding error and Moises Sierra and Anthony Gose followed with RBI singles.
Ryan Goins grounded a go-ahead single up the middle, and center fielder Sam Fuld overran the ball, which went all the way to the wall. Sierra scored on the error for a 4-2 lead, and Goins was thrown out at the plate on Zobrist’s relay from shortstop.
Lawrie and Sierra added run-scoring singles in the fifth.
Dickey left after two errors and a walk helped the Rays load the bases with one out in the eighth. Sergio Santos came on and got James Loney to ground into a double play on the first pitch.
Santos gave up Kelly Johnson’s RBI double in the ninth but struck out pinch-hitter Luke Scott for his first save in three chances.
Lawrie’s lip was cut in the seventh when a Roberto Hernandez pitch grazed his shoulder and bounced off his cheek. Bleeding from his mouth as he walked to first base, Lawrie was checked by a trainer but remained in the game. He was replaced by Mark DeRosa in the ninth.
NOTES: Toronto’s Adam Lind (back) missed his second straight game. … Rays SS Yunel Escobar (left ankle) is expected to return to the starting lineup Saturday.