Dickey effective despite unfavourable conditions

Blue Jays knuckleballer holds Yankees to one run over 6 1/3 innings

Dickey effective despite unfavourable conditions

NEW YORK -- It certainly didn't come easy, but somehow Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey found a way to grind his way through 6 1/3 quality innings against the Yankees on Wednesday night.

Dickey was up against it on a night when the game-time temperature was 44 degrees Fahrenheit -- six degrees Celsius. The conditions only got worse from there as the temperature continued to drop and a cold mist periodically sprayed itself all over Yankee Stadium.

That's usually a recipe for disaster when it comes to knuckleballers, but Dickey didn't just survive, he thrived. The veteran right-hander allowed one run on four hits and three walks while striking out four in what should have been his first win of the year.

"It was tough to get a feel for it consistently, just because it was cold and the balls were very, very slick," said Dickey, who departed with the lead only to see it slip away later in Toronto's eventual 4-3 loss. "So that made it difficult to repeat my release point and every ball had a different feel. It was tough. ... Yes, I was happy with the result, but it was a struggle."

Dickey walked three batters and found himself in a lot of deep counts during the first three innings, but then faced the minimum in the fourth and fifth. That put him in position to get deep into the game, and it wasn't until a one-out single in the seventh that he was lifted in favor of rookie right-hander Miguel Castro.

On the surface, it would appear as though Dickey had found a way to settle into the game, but that wasn't really the case. It was an uncomfortable outing from start to finish, but he did more than enough to get the job done.

"Contrary to Spring Training, I was behind in a lot of counts and had to make good, quality pitches 2-0, 2-1, 3-1," Dickey said. "Even in that seventh inning, I got to 3-0 on [Brian] McCann and had to make three really good pitches, and thankfully I did, but that was a microcosm of most of the night.

"I was able in the middle innings there to get a little bit of a groove going, but it wasn't coming out of my hand just right, wasn't getting the late movement, but it was certainly moving enough to where they were hitting pieces of it."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.