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(Wednesday, June 26th)
Final Score: Toronto 3, Tampa Bay 0
St. Petersburg, FL (Sports Network) - While the long-awaited return of one of the Toronto Blue Jays' premier offseason acquisitions didn't provide much of a spark, the team got a huge lift from one of the others in its series finale with the Tampa Bay Rays.
R.A. Dickey fired a two-hit shutout to get the Blue Jays back on track with a 3-0 triumph over the Rays in a game marked by Jose Reyes' comeback from an absence of more than two months.
Reyes went 0-for-4 in his first game back from a severe ankle sprain the dynamic shortstop sustained back on April 12, but the Blue Jays received solo home runs from Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion to bounce back from two straight losses to the Rays in which the club managed just a pair of runs.
Dickey (7-8) didn't need much support, with the veteran knuckleball specialist carrying a perfect game into the fifth inning and permitting just three baserunners in notching his sixth career shutout and first as a member of the Jays.
"That's as good of a game as you can pitch, unless it's perfect," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons remarked.
Counterpart Roberto Hernandez (4-9) put forth a strong effort as well on the mound, but served up both Toronto homers and allowed all three runs on six hits over eight-plus innings of work.
"I thought Roberto was fantastic," said Rays manager Joe Maddon. "That probably was his best game all year. The ball was alive, the sinker was very good, the slider was good. It's just unfortunate we got outpitched today."
Melky Cabrera added an RBI single for Toronto, which had matched a franchise record by ripping off 11 consecutive victories heading into the series. The Rays had a three-game win streak halted.
Dickey was in control all throughout the contest, with the 38-year-old displaying his 2012 Cy Young Award-winning form in setting down the first 13 Tampa hitters until James Loney singled past the glove of a lunging Reyes with one out in the top of the fifth inning.
"You could tell early on that he had it going," said Gibbons.
Hernandez matched zeros with Dickey through the opening three innings before running into a bit of trouble in the fourth. Jose Bautista doubled into the right center-field gap to begin the frame, with Cabrera driving him home two batters later with a single up the middle.
The Rays right-hander started the sixth by getting two quick outs, but hung a full-count slider to Lind that was belted over the wall in center to stake Toronto to a 2-0 edge.
That was more than enough for Dickey, who gave up only one more hit -- a Yunel Escobar single with one out in the bottom of the sixth that was erased on a double play.
Encarnacion gave Toronto some additional breathing room by leading off the ninth with his 22nd homer of the season, a towering blast to left that ended Hernandez's afternoon.
Dickey, who led the National League with five complete games as a member of the Mets last season, recorded his first in a Toronto uniform ... The Blue Jays won for only the third time in their last 15 visits to Tropicana Field ... Loney's single extended his hitting streak to eight games, but rookie teammate Wil Myers had an eight-game tear end after going 0-for-3 ... Dickey finished with six strikeouts.
06/26 18:12:58 ET