TORONTO — R.A. Dickey had allowed 97 home runs since joining the Toronto Blue Jays before the 2013 season heading into Monday night's game with the Philadelphia Phillies. That is the most in the major leagues over that span. Dickey, then, is an authority on the particulars of the long ball.
The first batter of Monday night's seventh inning, Ryan Howard, pulled the ball deep into right field. It did not feel like a dangerous blast to Dickey, though.
"Off the bat, it didn't sound good. If you play long enough, (you know) the sound. And that was not it," said Dickey, the losing pitcher in a 7-0 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. "But I also know the ball has been carrying here a lot lately over the last three or four days. He's a big guy. He got his bigness behind it, and there it was."
It was one of many things that just did not go right for the Blue Jays during a hapless evening of baseball. Most notably, after a productive weekend, Toronto's bats went ice cold in the first of four games against the Phillies, split between the two cities.
The Blue Jays had 30 runs against the Orioles in a four-game series that ended Sunday, scoring 21 runs in two games on the weekend. However, they had trouble against Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff (4-8), managing just three singles off of him in six innings.
Toronto did not have an extra-base hit all evening. Michael Saunders and Justin Smoak both reached base to start the eighth inning, but Kevin Pillar grounded into a double play, killing the closest thing they had to a rally.
Dickey (4-7) allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings, including two home runs in front of 35,678 fans.
Odubel Herrera's third-inning blast barely cleared the wall. Howard hit a home run of his own to a similar spot in the seventh inning for Philadelphia. Dickey termed both home runs to be "wall scrapers," and he was fairly accurate with his assessment.
"Today was kind of a letdown," Dickey said. "I don't think we played with a lot of energy today. We had a lot of games where lately we've been very invested against division opponents. It's plausible that that would be the case. You play the Phillies, and they don't have a winning record. It was just a low-energy day for us all around it felt like. Thank goodness it only counts for one loss, you know? It feels like a lot worse."
Jose Bautista returned to the lineup after missing the previous three games with tightness in his hip flexor. He had a single in the final of his four at-bats.
As the Blue Jays got one slugger back, they lost another, although likely only for a day. Edwin Encarnacion sat out on Monday after jamming a finger when he stole a base against Baltimore on Sunday. Saunders batted third in the lineup, Encarnacion's usual spot.
Left-handed pitcher Scott Diamond was called up from triple-A Buffalo on Monday. In his first appearance for the team, the Guelph, Ont., native allowed three runs in the ninth inning. He became the 25th Canadian-born player to play for the Blue Jays.
Notes: Brett Cecil pitched off a mound in Florida for the first time since Toronto placed him on the disabled list on May 15 because of a left triceps strain. He is still building up strength in the arm, and will not be returning imminently. ... Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is also expected to play in an extended spring training game on Wednesday, after being pulled from his first attempt at such a game on Friday. He has been out of the lineup since May 27 because of soreness in his right quadriceps.