ARLINGTON -- Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey shut down the Rangers for eight innings and earned his second win of the season in a 5-0 victory on Friday night. The Blue Jays have won four straight games against the Rangers this month.
Dickey, facing the team that drafted and signed him 20 years ago, won a tight pitching duel against Rangers left-hander Martin Perez. Dickey allowed three hits and a walk while striking out six.
The game was scoreless until the Blue Jays manufactured an unearned run in the sixth off of Perez. He ended up going 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits, three walks and three strikeouts. The Rangers' offense has averaged 2.28 runs per nine innings when Perez is on the mound this season.
"We had some funky swings," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "It looked like [Dickey] had a pretty decent knuckleball. Those guys are always a challenge."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Doing it with the long ball: Toronto's offense struggled early but sprung to life in eighth inning with a pair of home runs. Edwin Encarnacion got things started with a solo shot to left field off right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen for his seventh of the year and fourth of the month. Justin Smoak followed with a double and then Troy Tulowitzki broke the game open with a two-run shot to left. According to Statcast™, Tulowitzki's seventh home run of the year -- and 200th of his career -- was projected to travel 406 feet and left his bat at 105 mph.
"Continuing to work, trying to put good swings," Tulowitzki said. "Found the barrel a little bit today, so hopefully I can carry that over tomorrow and keep on putting good at-bats out there."
"It was nice to see Matt Bush become a big leaguer," Banister said. "Very composed and his stuff came out hot. I was very proud of what Matt Bush did today."
Andrus commits costly error: The Blue Jays' first run was unearned because of an error by shortstop Elvis Andrus. With one out and one on the sixth, he fumbled a potential inning-ending grounder by Encarnacion. Perez then walked Smoak to load the bases and a slow grounder by Tulowitzki to first baseman Mitch Moreland -- the Rangers got a force at second -- brought home the run.
"Obviously, one play, we didn't help him out," Banister said. "We didn't get the outs we needed but you still have to limit the walks."
Small ball: In the seventh inning, Darwin Barney singled and was advanced to second on a bunt by Josh Thole. Kevin Pillar moved Barney to third on a grounder and then Toronto added -- what at the time was -- a much-needed insurance run when right-hander Sam Dyson lost control of a fastball and threw it to the backstop, which allowed Barney to score easily from third.
MILESTONE FOR TULO
With home run No. 200, Tulowitzki became just the 13th Major Leaguer who spent a significant portion of his career at shortstop to reach that tally, joining Cal Ripken Jr., Miguel Tejada, Derek Jeter, Robin Yount, Jose Valentin, Vern Stephens, Jimmy Rollins, Nomar Garciaparra, Alex Rodriguez, Hanley Ramirez, Ernie Banks and Rico Petrocelli.
"It's definitely pretty cool," Tulowitzki said. "There aren't too many shortstops who can say that. It's something that I'll always remember. Hopefully there are many more to come and obviously the most important thing is that we won the game."
"It's very nostalgic. You never know when you're going to be back. This is the last time we're going to face these guys in the regular season, so there's a chance this could be the last time I ever pitch here, you never know. That felt very validating to come out here, where it all began, it's a near narrative." -- Dickey, on pitching against the team that drafted him back in 1996
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Blue Jays' staff has posted a 1.88 ERA over its past 14 games. Toronto pitchers also have not surrendered a home run since the 7th inning of a game against the Dodgers on May 8, a span of 41 1/3 innings.
WHAT'S NEXT Blue Jays: Right-hander Marco Estrada pitches against the Rangers at 8:05 p.m. ET Saturday in game two of this series. Estrada is 0-2 with a 2.93 ERA in five starts since winning his first outing of the year against the Red Sox.
Rangers: Right-hander Colby Lewis gets the start at 7:05 CT at Globe Life Park. He is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in his last three starts and has gone seven innings in all three.