(The Sports Xchange) - Friday was a special night for R.A. Dickey.
Not only did he earn career win No. 100 on the fourth attempt in the Toronto Blue Jays’ 5-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, it came at an important time.
The win gave the Blue Jays a four-game lead in the American League East over the New York Yankees, who lost 5-2 to the Chicago White Sox.
”It’s really special,“ said 40-year-old Dickey. ”I think I had 28 wins before I was 35 and 72 after. It’s been a tough year for me, losing my dad and things like that.
“So to be able to celebrate this at home, in my 100th start for the Blue Jays, is really poetic.”
Designated hitter Josh Donaldson, center fielder Kevin Pillar and right fielder Jose Bautista hit solo homers for the Blue Jays (88-65).
“It’s no secret, we know that they have the ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
“The good thing is, when they do it, if you can keep them solo, it keeps you in the ballgame. That’s what allowed us to stay in the ballgame.”
Catcher J.P. Arencibia homered in the eighth for the Rays (75-79), who entered the night five games out of a wild-card spot.
Dickey (11-11), a right-handed knuckleballer, allowed four hits, no walks and two runs while striking out two in seven innings. He retired the final 11 batters he faced.
Right-hander Roberto Osuna pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 18th save of the season as the Blue Jays appear headed to the postseason for the first time since 1993.
Rays right-hander Jake Odorizzi (8-9) allowed two home runs among seven hits that he allowed in five innings. He gave up three walks and four runs and struck out four.
”I really had to work tonight,“ Odorizzi said. ”I feel thankful that I only gave up four runs.
“I made a lot of good pitches to get out of jams, which it seemed like I was in all night. I just really had to fight and claw my way through it.”
Editing by Julian Linden