Dickey throws 7 strong innings in Jays' 2-1 win over Astros
HOUSTON (AP) R.A. Dickey's knuckleball was working Tuesday night, and the Blue Jays got just enough offense to pull out a win.
Dickey threw seven solid innings, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion homered and Toronto beat the Houston Astros 2-1.
Dickey (8-12) allowed a run and six hits with five strikeouts.
''A lot of swing and miss,'' Toronto manager John Gibbons said. ''He had good life on his knuckleball. It's one of those things that it comes and goes with him. He was aggressive with it and he threw a ton of strikes. That's the key.''
He had allowed 18 runs -17 earned - over his last three starts, all losses.
Dickey said he was on top of a lot of knuckleballs Tuesday night, with different movement and different speeds.
''I've been feeling great,'' Dickey said. ''I've been feeling strong. My knuckleball velocities have been great, and I have been able to change speeds a lot. I think one of the differences tonight was fairly dramatic for me was just my command with it.''
Bautista hit his 300th career homer in the third to put Toronto up 1-0.
''It's always a friendly reminder that you've been doing this a long time and enjoyed some success,'' Bautista said about the milestone. ''You get happy about that. No doubt, but right now I think we have more important things to worry about. I'll get to enjoy that in the offseason.''
Encarnacion launched his 29th home run to lead off the fourth - a monstrous shot that bounced off the railroad tracks at Minute Maid Park before landing in left field.
Danny Barnes pitched the eighth before Jason Grilli pitched the ninth for his second save with Toronto and his fourth overall. The win snapped Toronto's eight-game losing streak at Houston.
Evan Gattis cut the lead to 2-1 with an RBI single in the seventh. Jose Altuve had three hits for Houston, which lost for the fourth time in five games.
''We have been in an offensive lull for a few games now,'' Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. ''Obviously, Dickey had his good knuckleball going tonight, and his ball was moving all over the place. The hitters were coming back and remarking on how much action he had on his pitches.''
Lance McCullers (6-5) allowed two runs on seven hits with six strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings before leaving with discomfort in his right elbow. He will be evaluated Wednesday.
''We don't really know,'' McCullers said about the injury. ''We're just going to follow protocol and take it step by step and see where we are tomorrow. I felt a little discomfort, and out of precaution, I just had to get out of there.''
McCullers was replaced by Joe Musgrove, who struck out eight in 4 1/3 shutout innings. The eight strikeouts tied a major league record for strikeouts by a reliever making his big league debut set by Barry Jones for the Pirates on April 20, 1986.
Blue Jays: SS Troy Tulowitzki (thumb) swung off a tee Tuesday and was feeling better, Gibbons said.
Astros: RHP Luke Gregerson was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 28 with a left oblique strain. The Astros recalled IF A.J. Reed from Triple-A Fresno. ... OF Carlos Gomez (right hamstring) was back in the lineup Tuesday after missing the last four games. He went 1 for 4.
Blue Jays: Toronto recalled RHP Mike Bolsinger, who was acquired Monday from the Dodgers, and Barnes from Triple-A Buffalo. The Blue Jays optioned INF Ryan Goins and RHP Bo Schultz to Buffalo.
Astros: Houston will recall RHP James Hoyt from Triple-A Fresno on Wednesday, and RHP Doug Fister will go on the three-day paternity list.
Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (6-4) will look for his second straight win Wednesday in the third of four games against the Astros. Estrada allowed four runs in his last outing Friday against Baltimore, the most runs he had allowed since May 14 when he was tagged for five runs.
Astros: RHP Collin McHugh (7-7) will look to rebound after being tagged for eight runs on 10 hits in 1 2/3 innings Friday at Detroit.