R.A. Dickey has said the stat he cares most about is quality starts — the recognition given to a starter who pitches at least six innings while allowing no more than three runs.
He says he’s not aiming for another sparkling Cy Young season — he just wants to give the Blue Jays a chance to win every time he takes the mound.
He did that again on Monday, keeping the game close to earn his team-leading seventh quality start while paving the way for a game-winning three-run double by Edwin Encarnacion in the seventh inning.
But Dickey went a couple steps further, pitching into the eighth inning for the first time this season as the Jays defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 7-5 in front of an announced Victoria Day crowd of 29,885 at the Rogers Centre.
Encarnacion’s two-out double — a laser beam to the left-field wall — broke open a 3-3 deadlock against the Jays’ division rival, after the Rays’ hard-throwing but erratic reliever Josh Lueke walked three to load the bases.
Ex-Jay Yunel Escobar — he of the homophobic eyeblack slur — homered off Casey Janssen in the ninth inning to cut the Jays’ lead to two.