The Toronto Blue Jays ended their losing streak Friday while extending the Minnesota Twins ' slide.
Considering Toronto will start R.A. Dickey - who seems to have discovered a groove recently - the Twins' woes could very well continue Saturday at Rogers Centre.
The Blue Jays (42-44) ended their three-game slide with a 4-0 win over the Twins (36-47), who lost their sixth straight. Toronto's starters had struggled during the club's previous three games, combining to allow 19 runs and 26 hits in only 11 2-3 innings.
But Mark Buehrle gave them seven strong innings Friday, a trend the Blue Jays hope continues Saturday with Dickey (8-8, 4.59 ERA). He's won three of his last four starts with the last two being particularly impressive. After a two-hit shutout of Tampa Bay on June 26, he followed that with seven innings of two-run ball against Detroit in an 8-3 win Monday.
"Just another great outing," manager John Gibbons said. "Second one in a row. I see more bite on his knuckleball than we've seen in the past a little bit."
The 38-year-old pitched through some back and neck issues earlier this year, but is healthier now, and it seems to be showing with better velocity. Dickey said he hit season highs on the radar gun with both his fastball and knuckleball versus the Tigers.
He also walked a total of two batters in his last two starts after entering the first with a walk rate of 2.67 per nine innings.
"It's been kind of a tough go getting it back," Dickey said of his velocity. "You can get away with a lot more mistakes when the velocity's up there."
Jose Bautista and Jose Reyes continued hot stretches Friday, each going 3 for 4 and driving in two runs. Bautista hit his 20th homer and is 13 for 25 with four home runs and seven RBIs over his last seven games. Reyes was hitless in his first two games after returning from a sprained ankle June 26, but has since gone 13 for 36 with eight runs during an eight-game hitting streak.
Meanwhile, Minnesota's pitching staff continues to struggle, posting a 6.79 ERA during the six-game skid. Mike Pelfrey (3-6, 6.11) will try to give the Twins a lift Saturday as he makes his first start since June 18. Pelfrey, who was out with a strained back, went 0-3 over his last eight starts, throwing more than six innings only twice. He gave up a season-high 10 hits and four runs over six innings his last time out, a 7-5 win over the White Sox.
The Twins are also failing to come through with runners in scoring position, going 6 for 38 (.158) over the last five contests compared to a .253 mark on the season.
Canada native Justin Morneau , who homered twice in Minnesota's loss to the Yankees on Thursday, was 0 for 4 Friday. He's batting .198 in 24 career games in Toronto, including a current 1-for-14 slump. The slugger is also 0 for 4 off Dickey.
Dickey hasn't faced the Twins since 2008 when he made three relief appearances and one start.
The Twins have lost 17 of 23 to Toronto, including eight of nine at Rogers Centre.
|July 01, 2013||Josh Willingham||15-Day DL||Medial meniscus tear, left knee|
|July 01, 2013||Josh Willingham||Day-to-Day||Left knee soreness|
|June 19, 2013||Mike Pelfrey||15-Day DL||Back strain|
|June 19, 2013||Mike Pelfrey||15-Day DL||Back strain|
|June 11, 2013||Jared Burton||Day-to-Day||Groin injury|
|June 10, 2013||Aaron Hicks||15-Day DL||Left hamstring strain|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|June 28, 2013||Melky Cabrera||15-Day DL||Left knee tendinitis|
|June 27, 2013||Melky Cabrera||Day-to-Day||Left knee tendinitis|
|June 03, 2013||Ramon Ortiz||60-Day DL||Right elbow strain|
|June 02, 2013||Ramon Ortiz||Day-to-Day||Left game - right elbow|
|June 01, 2013||Brandon Morrow||15-Day DL||Right forearm strain|
|May 28, 2013||Brett Lawrie||15-Day DL||Left ankle sprain|
TORONTO (AP) -- With an afternoon start looming the next day, Mike Pelfrey had already gone back to the hotel when Twins manager Ron Gardenhire held a postgame meeting Friday night, urging his slumping team to lighten up.
Pelfrey might have missed the meeting, but he couldn't miss the message.
Brian Dozier hit a three-run home run, Pelfrey and three relievers combined for a four-hitter and the Minnesota Twins beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-0 on Saturday.
"It must have been a good meeting," Pelfrey joked. "We scored six."
Dozier had two hits and four RBIs, connecting off knuckleballer R.A. Dickey for his eighth homer as the Twins snapped a six-game skid and won for just the fourth time in 14 games.
"Today we went out and everybody was running around, the dugout was hooting and hollering and it was a little bit better atmosphere," Gardenhire said.
Minnesota came in having lost 17 of 23 to Toronto, including eight of nine at Rogers Centre.
Pitching for the first time since June 18 after landing on the disabled list with a strained back, Pelfrey (4-6) snapped an eight-start winless streak to earn his first victory since May 5 at Cleveland. He allowed three hits in six innings, walked three and struck out two.
Caleb Thielbar worked the seventh, Jared Burton pitched the eighth and Glen Perkins finished.
"It was a great pitching effort," Twins catcher Joe Mauer said. "To shut that team out is pretty good."
Maicer Izturis had three of Toronto's four hits as the Blue Jays lost for the seventh time in 10 games. Slugger Jose Bautista , who hit his 20th homer Friday, flied out to the warning track twice.
Pelfrey loaded the bases with three straight two-out walks in the first but Rajai Davis grounded out to end the threat.
"We couldn't get anything going, that's the bottom line," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We had that opportunity, it was really our only opportunity, in the first, and came up empty."
Pelfrey said he tweaked his left groin in the shaky first, but was able to keep pitching.
"He said he just made an adjustment in his windup and everything went good from there," Gardenhire said. "It's fine, he pitched through it no problems and he'll be fine for his next start."
Chris Parmalee doubled to begin the second and moved to third on Aaron Hicks ' single but was caught in a rundown after Dickey snared Eduardo Escobar 's comebacker, leaving men at first and second. After the runners moved up on a passed ball, Brian Dozier hit an RBI grounder, Jamey Carroll hit an RBI double and Joe Mauer followed with a run-scoring single.
Parmalee doubled off Dickey again to open the seventh and Hicks walked but Parmalee was forced at third on Escobar's bunt. Dozier followed with his first home run since June 21.
"A three-run home run is tough to overcome when you've already given up three," Dickey said.
Dickey (8-9) had won three of his previous four starts, including a two-hit shutout of Tampa Bay on June 26 and seven solid innings in an 8-3 win over Detroit on Monday. But he wasn't as effective in this one, giving up six runs and seven hits in seven innings. He walked two and struck out three.
"He pretty much held them in check until that big three-run home run late," Gibbons said.
Dickey has allowed six runs or more in seven of his 19 starts this season. He's also given up 19 total homers.
Twins outfielder Oswaldo Garcia suffered a bruised right hand when he was hit by a pitch from Dickey in the sixth. He stayed in the game but was replaced by Clete Thomas in the bottom of the seventh. X-rays were negative and Arcia is day-to-day.
NOTES: After two rehab games with Class-A Lansing, Toronto 3B Brett Lawrie (left ankle) has moved up to Double-A New Hampshire, where he'll play Saturday night. Lawrie has been out since May 28. ... The Blue Jays activated RHP Kyle Drabek (shoulder surgery) off the disabled list and assigned him to Class-A Dunedin to continue his rehab. Drabek takes the 40-man roster spot of RHP Chien-Ming Wang, who is at Triple-A Buffalo. ... The Blue Jays signed RHP Clinton Hollon, their second round pick in last month's draft.