TORONTO - R.A. Dickey won his third consecutive decision on Tuesday but he is still frustrated with his inability to get through the seventh inning.
"I get a good 18 hours to beat myself up and then it's time to turn the page and enjoy that we won the game," Dickey said after he failed to retire any of his four batters in a three-run seventh inning by the Cleveland Indians. "I do have an expectation of myself that's better than what I'm producing."
With Juan Francisco and Adam Lind each driving in two runs and left fielder Melky Cabrera throwing out a runner at the plate to end the eighth inning, the Blue Jays defeated the Indians 5-4.
Dickey (4-3) allowed five hits, two walks, one hit batsman and four runs— two earned— in six-plus innings.
"The good news is I feel like I'm pounding the zone and pitching to contact and I had a great knuckleball," Dickey said. "But I am not making it easy on myself or my team in those later innings.
"Quite frankly, I feel a little bit embarrassed that I haven't been able to get through seventh innings with some of the stuff that I've had…I had some really good change-ups tonight and had a swing and miss knuckleball and was pounding the zone and on a different night I might have been able to go seven or eight."
He has pitched seven innings once this season, a loss to the Houston Astros on April 10.
Cleveland right-hander Justin Masterson (2-2) allowed six hits— including Francisco's homer that snapped a 1-1 tie in the fifth— three walks and five runs in 5 1/3 innings.
"First time through the order he went through them really well," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He got a couple of balls up that they stayed on pretty well. We just couldn't get one big hit."
The victory in the opener of the three-game series against the Indians (18-21) gave the Blue Jays (20-20) their second win in a row after dropping three straight to the Los Angeles Angels.
The Indians appeared to be set to take Masterson off the hook for the loss and take the win away from Dickey with two out in the top of the eighth inning. But Cabrera cut down the potential tying run with his throw home. Cleveland's Carlos Santana, who led off the inning with a single against left-hander Brett Cecil and took second on a passed ball, was out at the plate after Yan Gomes lined a single to left.
"That was just heroic, that's what that was," Dickey said. "It saved the game."
"It was possibly the game right there," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "They come back and tie it you never know what's going to happen."
Casey Janssen pitched the ninth for his first save of the season in his second appearance after coming off the disabled list where he was placed Mar. 29 with a back problem.
"He's reliable," Gibbons said. "It's good to have him back."
Cleveland took a 1-0 lead in the third on a single to right by Nick Swisher. Jose Bautista made a tumbling attempt at a catch on the sinking drive that scored Mike Aviles, who singled with two out and took second on a walk to Michael Bourn.
The Blue Jays tied the game in the fourth on a triple to left-centre by Jose Reyes and a sacrifice fly to the warning track in centre by Cabrera.
Francisco hit a 1-0 sinker to right centre for his sixth homer of the season with one out in the fifth to give the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead. Francisco started at third base to get his left-handed bat into the lineup against Masterson and Brett Lawrie started at second base.
The Blue Jays added three runs in the sixth, two on a slicing double by Lind to left centre that scored Cabrera, who led off with a walk, and Bautista, who had an infield single. Francisco doubled down the right-field line to score Lind. Masterson was pulled for left-hander Josh Outman after Lawrie walked.
The Indians answered with three runs in the seventh after Dickey faced four batters without an out.
"It seemed like the wheels were falling off but overall in the game he was tremendous," Toronto catcher Josh Thole said.
Asdrubal Cabrera singled, David Murphy reached first on Lawrie's error on his sharp groundball, Gomes walked and Lonnie Chisenhall was hit by a pitch to force in a run. Left-hander Aaron Loup allowed a one-out single by Bourn and a sacrifice fly by Swisher to cut the lead to one.
NOTES: The Blue Jays recalled outfielder Kevin Pillar from triple-A Buffalo where he was batting .305 with one home run and 19 RBI. Pillar started in centre field Tuesday while Colby Rasmus rested his mild right hamstring strain, but it seems unlikely he will need to go on the disabled list. … Infielder Jonathan Diaz, who played on Monday to give regular shortstop Reyes a rest, was returned on option to Buffalo. … Blue Jays right-hander Dustin McGowan (2-1, 4.63 earned-run average) will start Wednesday against right-hander Corey Kluber (3-3, 3.48 ERA).