Dickey's HR issues continue in rough outing

Knuckleballer has allowed four home runs over last two starts

Dickey's HR issues continue in rough outing

TORONTO -- R.A. Dickey has made 122 starts for the Blue Jays since joining the team ahead of the 2013 season. His start on Saturday was the shortest of them all.

Dickey made it into the fourth inning of Toronto's 14-5 loss, but was unable to retire a single batter. He was removed with the bases loaded. The veteran knuckleballer lasted just three innings -- his shortest since going 2 2/3 innings on May 26, 2011.

The 41-year-old has always served up his share of home runs, but he usually finds a way to limit the damage. Dickey's last two starts -- both losses -- have seen him surrender 11 total runs, with the multi-run homers providing a majority of the offense. Dickey surrendered three home runs his last outing against the A's, including a three-run shot to Ryon Healy, and on Saturday, he allowed a grand slam to Nelson Cruz as part of a 19-hit Seattle attack.

"I don't know if I ever take pride in giving up any kind of home run, whether it's a multi or a solo shot, but I've been pretty fortunate this year staying away from the multi-run home run, and the last two games, it's really bit me," said Dickey, who allowed six earned runs on seven hits. "I felt like I executed a pretty good pitch to Cruz, and he did a good job of staying with it. The first two went the opposite direction of the one he hit. I've just got to keep pushing forward."

Dickey's loss on Saturday matched last year's total of 11 and his 66 total home runs allowed at Rogers Centre are third most all-time by a Blue Jays starter. Despite those numbers, Dickey has tossed at least 200 innings in each of his last six seasons and is on pace to once again hit that elusive mark.

With question marks surrounding young right-hander Aaron Sanchez and whether he will remain in the rotation, as well as the inconsistency of Toronto's bullpen, the Blue Jays will need Dickey to return to form in their postseason chase.

"It was a tough one to control today," Dickey said. "I hit two guys with it, it really took off inside a couple of lefties, but I really didn't give us much of a chance today. It was a really weird outing -- four infield hits and a couple of hit batters -- I felt like it was an anomaly, really."

Alykhan Ravjiani is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.