By Gregor Chisholm and Jamie Ross
MLB.com |@gregorMLB |
TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson had three hits, including a pair of doubles, while R.A. Dickey tossed his second complete game of the year to lead the Blue Jays to a 5-1 victory over the Indians on Wednesday night at Rogers Centre.
The victory ensured that Toronto maintained its 1 1/2-game lead over the Yankees for first place in the American League East after New York also came away with a 13-8 win over Boston earlier in the day. Cleveland dropped to six games behind Texas for the second AL Wild Card spot after the Rangers won in San Diego late Wednesday night.
Donaldson went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and even found a way to score from third on a popup to second baseman Jason Kipnis. For Donaldson, they were doubles Nos. 37 and 38 on the season, which ranks second in the AL behind Cleveland's Michael Brantley. Toronto's third baseman also upped his RBI total to a Major League-leading 111, with Colorado's Nolan Arenado entering the day a distant second with 98.
"He's on a mission. Hopefully he rests tomorrow, he can probably use a day off," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "I don't know how you sum up his year. He's at the top of just about every category there is. It's fun to watch, it's fun to be a part of."
Dickey was nearly flawless for the Blue Jays as he carried a perfect game into the fourth. Cleveland managed to score one in that inning on an RBI single by Carlos Santana, but Dickey quickly recovered and dominated the rest of the way. The former National League Cy Young Award winner scattered four hits and didn't walk a batter in one of his best starts of the year.
Right-hander Trevor Bauer wasn't as fortunate for the Indians. He wasn't able to make it out of the second and was charged with five runs on six hits and a walk while striking out two. It marked the second time in his last four outings that Bauer wasn't able to make it through at least two innings.
"I thought even warming up he had his fastball up, and when he got in the game, he couldn't drive it down, and that was certainly the game plan against these guys," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He wasn't able to get it there."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Running wild: Donaldson is known for his abilities with the bat and the glove, but it was his legs that drew a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd at Rogers Centre. With one out and the bases loaded in the second, Troy Tulowitzki hit a shallow popup to right-center field. It appeared as though it was going to be a wasted scoring opportunity, as Kipnis ran out to make the easy catch. Donaldson had other ideas, though, as he tagged from third. The throw from Kipnis moved Indians catcher Yan Gomes in front of the plate, and that provided just enough room for Donaldson to go wide with a headfirst slide as he touched home with his left hand.
"From my read right there, if the right fielder would have caught the ball I would have stayed," Donaldson said. "Kipnis has a pretty good arm, but he was moving back, and I felt like his momentum was carrying him back, which makes it a little bit more of a difficult play for him to throw home. I just felt like I had an opportunity to score right there, so I took it." More >
Indians' bullpen does heavy lifting: After Bauer's abbreviated outing, six relievers took over and combined for 6 2/3 scoreless innings to finish off the game. It marked Gavin Floyd's first action since he was activated from the 60-day disabled list, and Shawn Armstrong's first appearance since he was recalled from Triple-A Columbus.
"I haven't really thought about it too much, so when it happened, a lot of the emotional side and getting amped up and excited, it all came to me when I was out there," Floyd said. More >
Dickey finishes what he started: Dickey got Francisco Lindor to hit into a double play in the ninth inning as he put the finishes touches on the 15th complete game of his career. It was his first time going the distance since a 5-2 victory over the Angels on May 21, and it was his sixth complete game since joining the Blue Jays prior to the 2013 season. Dickey needed just 92 pitches to get the job done against Cleveland, and he faced the minimum in every frame except the one-run fourth.
"I'll tell you what's worked, the bats have exploded when I pitch," Dickey said. "It's such a gift to come and watch these guys play, it really is. To watch Donaldson and Bautista and Tulo, everybody is playing a part, and it's a rare gift to get to come to the park and see these guys perform."
Bauer roughed up: The Indians' starter didn't last long against the hot-hitting Blue Jays. Bauer managed to record just four outs, as he was knocked around for six hits and five earned runs in his shortest start of the season.
"Tonight was kind of a flashback to that, and I'm hoping for more of that. Mechanically I've really been grinding it out here in Toronto, and I haven't been as consistent as I would have hoped when I came over. But I think the hope is, it's in there, that year is in there and if it can peek its head out, the more and more times it peeks its head out, the more and more confidence I get." -- Dickey, when asked to compare his stuff over the past six weeks to his Cy Young season in 2012
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The 92 pitches thrown by Dickey were the fewest amount by any Blue Jays starter in a complete game since Roy Halladay needed 89 in a start during the 2006 season.
Dickey improved to 7-0 since the All-Star break, becoming the first Blue Jays pitcher to accomplish that since Roger Clemens in 1998.
The Indians challenged when Justin Smoak was ruled safe, as the visiting team attempted to turn an inning-ending double play in the first inning. After a two-minute, four-second review, the ruling was that the call on the field stands.
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: The Tribe has a day off Thursday before traveling to Detroit to face the Tigers for a three-game series starting Friday at 7:08 p.m. ET. Ace right-hander Corey Kluber will take the mound for the Tribe. The 2014 American League Cy Young winner is 3-2 with a 2.92 ERA over his last seven starts. He's has made three appearances against Detroit this season, registering an 0-1 record with a 3.18 ERA.
Blue Jays: Toronto will enjoy an off-day on Thursday before opening a three-game series against division-rival Baltimore on Friday night at 7:07 p.m. ET at Rogers Centre. Right-hander Drew Hutchison will start the series opener, while the Orioles counter with veteran righty Ubaldo Jimenez. Hutchison is 5-1 with a 3.13 ERA in 10 career starts against the Orioles.