BALTIMORE (AP) - R.A. Dickey gritted his teeth, gripped the baseball and threw his knuckleball as best he could against the Baltimore Orioles.
Pitching in pain during his fifth start with Toronto, Dickey did a decent job - except for one inning. And that was enough to send the Blue Jays to a 4-3 defeat Tuesday night.
The Orioles scored four runs in the second inning on four singles, an error and two walks. No one hit the ball hard, but Baltimore did enough damage to take a lead it never relinquished.
Dickey (2-3) gave up four runs, six hits and five walks in six innings. He left his previous start with neck and back pain, and although he felt better this time around, the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner wasn't entirely in peak form.
``I'm definitely not 100 percent,' the right-hander said. ``I'm giving everything I can possibly give, but it feels like going to battle with a three-shooter instead of a six-shooter. You just don't have what you normally have. You feel like what you have is good enough to keep your team in it. But it's frustrating because you want to give more.'
Dickey hopes another four days of rest and treatment will help him feel better before his next start. Even if he's still in pain, he intends to take the mound.
``I get paid to be on the field and I take a lot of pride in that,' he said. ``I feel my team needs me, and if I can be out there I'll be out there.'
Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run homer for the last-place Blue Jays, who have dropped six of eight.
``We had some chances late. We just couldn't get that big hit,' manager John Gibbons said. ``Dickey battled all night long. You wish you could take away that one inning, but you can't in this business.'
Dickey was outdone by Miguel Gonzalez (2-1), who allowed three runs, five hits and three walks in six innings. The Orioles right-hander blanked Toronto on three hits through five innings before staggering through the sixth.
In the eighth, after the Blue Jays put runners at the corners with two outs against Pedro Strop, Melky Cabrera looked at a third strike on a 3-2 pitch.
Jim Johnson worked the ninth for his eighth save in eight tries. Thanks much to Johnson, Baltimore has won 100 straight games when leading after the seventh inning.
``Our bullpen hasn't failed us yet, knock on wood,' said Manny Machado, who had two hits and two RBIs. ``They do a good job in holding the lead. Once the ninth inning comes, Jimmy comes out, and you know it's lights out because you know he's going to shut the door for us.'
Baltimore batted around in the pivotal second inning. Adam Jones led off with a single, Chris Davis singled and Matt Wieters punched an opposite-field RBI single to left. After Nolan Reimold added a sacrifice fly, the Orioles loaded the bases with two outs for Machado, who singled in two runs.
``That second inning was a very quirky inning,' Dickey said. ``Not a lot of hard contact.'
Toronto put runners at first and third with one out in the third before Munenori Kawasaki bounced into a double play. Baltimore also turned a double play in the fourth.
Gonzalez was cruising until the sixth, when he got the first two outs before walking Adam Lind and Jose Bautista. That brought a visit to the mound by pitching coach Rick Adair, and Encarnacion drove Gonzalez's next pitch over the left-field wall. Cabrera followed with a triple, but Gonzalez escaped further damage by getting Brett Lawrie to hit a fly ball.
NOTES: Josh Stinson will start for the Orioles on Wednesday afternoon in the series finale. It will be the second big league start for Stinson, who previously pitched for the Mets and Brewers. Claimed on waivers from Oakland on April 4, the right-hander said in the clubhouse Tuesday, ``This is a great opportunity for me.' Toronto will start Brandon Morrow (0-2, 5.57 ERA). ... Toronto claimed LHP Aaron Laffey from the Mets. Laffey went 4-6 with the Blue Jays last season. To make room for Laffey, RHP Ramon Ortiz was designated for assignment. ... Lind was moved to the No. 2 spot in the Toronto lineup after adding 168 points to his on-base percentage since April 14. ``We're just basically looking to change something up. He's been getting on base a lot lately,' Gibbons said. Lind went 1 for 2 with a walk. ... Orioles pitching prospect Dylan Bundy visited Dr. James Andrews to get a second opinion on his ailing right arm. Bundy has experienced pain in the forearm-elbow region.
The Associated Press News Service
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