TORONTO (AP) R.A. Dickey called talented teammate Josh Donaldson ”a superhero.”
Against the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night, Dickey was pretty super, too.
Dickey pitched a four-hitter to win his seventh straight decision, Donaldson had three hits and the Blue Jays beat the Indians 5-1.
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AL East-leading Toronto won for the fifth time in six games, maintaining a 1 1/2-game lead over the New York Yankees, who beat Boston 13-8.
Dickey (10-10) threw 92 pitches, including 68 strikes, in his second complete game of the season and 15th of his career. Now 7-0 since the All-Star break, he’s unbeaten in 10 starts dating to a July 9 road loss against the White Sox.
”What’s worked is the bats have exploded when I pitch,” Dickey said. ”That’s always nice, to pitch with a lead.”
Dickey set down 14 straight before Jason Kipnis hit a one-out single in the ninth. Francisco Lindor ended it by grounding into a double play.
”Dickey was so good,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. ”He just threw a lot of strikes. First time through you saw him show the fastball and then go to the knuckleball. Once he got it rolling, man. For a ball to move that much and for him to command it that well, it was really impressive.”
Cleveland lost consecutive games for the first time since Aug. 18 and 19 at Boston. They went 9-2 in between.
Perfect through the first three innings, Dickey allowed back to-back singles to begin the fourth. After Michael Brantley grounded into a double play, Carlos Santana hit an RBI single up the middle.
Donaldson went 3 for 4 with three RBIs, raising his ML-leading total to 111.
”Nothing this guy does surprises you anymore,” Dickey said of Donaldson. ”He’s a superhero.”
Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki each had RBI singles in the first and Donaldson chased Bauer with a two-run double in the second.
Jeff Manship came on and walked Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion before Donaldson tagged and scored on Tulowitzki’s fly ball that second baseman Kipnis caught in shallow center. When Kipnis’ throw tailed toward third base, Donaldson dove around the tag attempt from catcher Yan Gomes, touching the plate with his left hand before landing on his chest.
”Kipnis has a pretty good arm but he was moving back,” Donaldson said. ”I felt like his momentum was carrying him back which makes it a little bit more difficult of a play for him.”
Rather than superhero, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons picked a different word to describe Donaldson.
”He’s a madman,” Gibbons said. ”That’s a great play.”
Cleveland right-hander Trevor Bauer (10-11) gave up five runs and six hits in 1 1/3 innings, failing to get through two innings for the second time in four starts.
”Even warming up (pitching coach Mickey Callaway) said the fastball was up,” Francona said. ”When he got in the game he just couldn’t drive it down and that was certainly the game plan against these guys. He wasn’t able to get it there.”
Tuesday marked the 25th anniversary of the only no-hitter in Blue Jays history. Right-hander Dave Stieb did it against the Indians at Municipal Stadium as Toronto won 3-0.
AN AUGUST PERFORMANCE
Encarnacion was named AL Player of the Month for August after leading baseball with a .407 average, 22 extra-base hits, 79 total bases and a .919 slugging percentage. Encarnacion also won the award in May, 2014.
Indians: Gavin Floyd pitched one perfect inning in his season debut. Floyd (elbow) had not pitched since June 19, 2014 with Atlanta. He pitched in relief for the first time since 2011.
Blue Jays: RHP Marcus Stroman (left knee) threw 4 2/3 hitless innings at Class-A Lansing Wednesday, striking out seven and walking one. Stroman is scheduled to throw a bullpen session in Toronto on Friday before starting at Triple-A Buffalo next Monday.
Indians: Cleveland is off Thursday before beginning a three-game series at Detroit on Friday. RHP Corey Kluber (8-13, 3.41 ERA) seeks to win for the first time in four starts. The Tigers have yet to name a starter.
Blue Jays: After an off day Thursday, Toronto begins a three-game series against Baltimore on Friday. RHP Drew Hutchison 13-2, 4,87 ERA) starts the opener against RHP Ubaldo imenez (9-9, 4.34). Hutchison is 11-1 with a 2.46 ERA in 14 home starts.