April 14, 2015

TORONTO (AP) R.A. Dickey lost control of his knuckleball, and it cost the Toronto Blue Jays the lead.

Dickey issued consecutive bases-loaded walks in the fourth inning and the Tampa Bay Rays beat Toronto 2-1 Monday night.

''I lost my release point a little bit in the fourth,'' Dickey said. ''They really made me work. They did a good job of laying off some really close pitches and I didn't make the big pitch when I had to.''

The Blue Jays lost their fourth straight home opener, disappointing a sellout crowd of 48,414.

Waving rally towels, the fans briefly came alive after Jose Bautista walked to begin the ninth, but quieted down quickly when Bautista was thrown out trying to steal second as Edwin Encarnacion struck out swinging on a full-count pitch.

''We took a gamble and it didn't pay off,'' Bautista said.

Rays manager Kevin Cash called it an ''unbelievable play.''

''That might have been as big a play as we've had so far this season,'' Cash said.

Josh Donaldson followed by flying out to the warning track in right for the final out.

Jake Odorizzi pitched eight impressive innings to lead Tampa Bay to its third straight victory as the Rays improved to 3-10 all-time in opponent's home openers.

Odorizzi, who allowed one run and two hits, is 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA in four career starts against the Blue Jays. The right-hander set down the final eight batters he faced.

''I can't say enough,'' Cash said. ''They had some opportunities and put us in a bind a little bit but he just really stepped it up.''

After Desmond Jennings and Allan Dykstra singled to begin the fourth, Dickey (0-1) retired the next two batters but then walked three in a row, including 3-2 passes to David DeJesus and Steven Souza.

They were the fifth and sixth bases loaded walks for the Rays this season. Entering play Monday, the 29 other major league teams had combined for eight.

Dickey allowed two runs and three hits in six innings, walked five and struck out six. The knuckleballer hadn't walked five since an April 17 loss at Minnesota last season. He walked five or more twice in 34 starts in 2014.

Odorizzi held Toronto hitless through the first 4 2-3 innings before Kevin Pillar doubled on a shallow fly ball that bounced past a diving Souza in right. Devon Travis followed with an RBI single.

Odorizzi issued two-out walks to Bautista and Encarnacion in the first, with both runners advancing on a wild pitch. Donaldson struck out looking to end the threat.

TURF TALK

Reviews were mixed on Toronto's new artificial turf surface, which plays much slower than one it replaced. ''It appeared as if the ball was never getting to you,'' Cash said. When Rays shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera fielded a grounder in the third, he ended up with a piece of rubber fill in his eye and needed attention from the trainer. On the plus side, the new turf has no shortage of cushion. ''Feels good on my feet,'' Blue Jays outfielder Dalton Pompey said. ''Definitely softer.''

ALL STAR HOSTS AGAIN?

Commissioner Rob Manfred was on hand for Toronto's opener, and said beforehand that the Blue Jays could be in line to host the All Star game for the first time since 1991. ''There's no reason why Toronto couldn't be competitive bidder for an All Star game in the fairly near future,'' Manfred said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Blue Jays: OF Michael Saunders (left knee) got the day off after feeling soreness in his right hamstring during Sunday's rehab game at Class-A Dunedin. Saunders is expected to DH on Tuesday.

UP NEXT

Rays RH Matt Andriese makes his first career start against Toronto on Tuesday. Andriese will be the 25th different pitcher to start for the Rays since 2008, the fewest in baseball over that span. He's Tampa Bay's fourth rookie starter in the first eight games of the season. The Blue Jays counter with LH rookie Daniel Norris (1-0, 4.76).

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