Blue Jays cap sweep of Angels with 12-5 win
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) R.A. Dickey's teammates weren't too concerned about the five runs he gave up in the first inning. The way the Toronto Blue Jays have been swinging the bats lately, it hardly mattered.
Edwin Encarnacion went 4 for 4 with a homer and four RBIs, and the Blue Jays completed a thunderous three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday with a 12-5 victory that vaulted them back into first place in the AL East.
''This was probably my favorite win all year,'' Dickey said. ''When I came back to the dugout after that inning, everybody was still upbeat and there was no reason to pout. The guys were encouraging me and say: `Hey, we're going to get them back. Don't worry.' And they did.''
Dickey (8-10) won his fifth straight decision over seven starts, despite allowing five runs and 11 hits in six innings. The knuckleballing right-hander overcame a 39-pitch first in which he gave up an RBI triple by Mike Trout, run-scoring hits by C.J. Cron and rookie Kaleb Cowart, and two sacrifice flies.
''I can't remember a time in my big league career where I gave up a 5-spot in the first inning,'' said Dickey, a 13-year veteran with 233 starts to his credit. ''I was walking a tightrope and was in danger of getting pullled in my shortest outing ever as a big leaguer. I only walked one and I kept the ball in the ballpark. And that saved me from it being a much shorter outing.''
In Friday night's series opener, Angels lefty Hector Santiago made 48 pitches in the first inning and gave up three runs en route to a 9-2 loss.
Dickey's catcher was Josh Thole, who was recalled Sunday from Triple-A Buffalo to catch his knuckleball. They were batterymates numerous times the past two seasons with the Blue Jays, and during the previous three years with the New York Mets.
The Jays' 16th victory in 19 games, coupled with the Yankees' 4-3 loss to Cleveland, put Toronto atop the division for the first time since Aug. 13.
The Blue Jays, who lead the majors by far with 670 runs, set a franchise record for a three-game series with 36.
''We came in here smoking hot. We're on fire right now,'' manager John Gibbons said. ''The west coast has never been particularly good to us. But everybody in our lineup has been swinging. It was a heck of a series. One thing we do is score runs. We've been doing it all year.''
They totaled 48 hits against a vanquished Angels pitching staff that has surrendered 44 runs, 60 hits and 15 walks over their last four games following Jered Weaver's 1-0 victory over the White Sox on Wednesday.
Garrett Richards (12-10) was charged with nine runs and 10 hits in five-plus innings.
Toronto closed to 5-3 in the second when a hard grounder to third base by Troy Tulowitzki with one out and the bases loaded got past rookie Kaleb Cowart for an error that allowed two runs to score.
Richards minimized the damage by getting major league RBI leader Josh Donaldson to ground into a double play on the next pitch, but the Blue Jays grabbed a 6-5 lead in the third.
Encarnacion hit an RBI single that extended his career-best hitting streak to 19 games, Ben Revere had a run-scoring infield hit, and Kevin Pillar scored the go-ahead run when shortstop Erick Aybar misplayed Ryan Goins' grounder toward the middle for the Angels' fifth error of the series.
Toronto increased its lead to 8-5 in the fourth with back-to-back homers by Jose Bautista (his 29th) and Encarnacion (his 24th). The Blue Jays have homered in 14 straight road games.
NEEDS MORE SEASONING
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said there were no plans to promote C Taylor Ward, their No.1 pick in the June draft, from Triple-A when the rosters are expanded on Sept. 1. Only two players in franchise history made their big league debuts the same summer they were selected in the opening round - 1B Danny Goodwin in 1975 (first overall pick) and LHP Brian Anderson in 1993 (third overall).
Blue Jays: C Russell Martin sat out his second straight game because of a sore left hamstring.
Blue Jays: LHP Mark Buehrle (13-6) gets the assignment Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game series at Texas.
Angels: Weaver (5-9) will try for his first road win in over three months when he faces Detroit on Tuesday night in the opener of a nine-game trip. He is 0-4 with a 6.12 ERA in his last four starts away from the ''Big A'' since beating the Blue Jays 4-3 on May 20.