TORONTO (AP) — R.A. Dickey kept 'em guessing by deftly changing speeds for much of the day. The final result was consecutive wins for the knuckleballer for the first time in almost two months.
Brett Lawrie drove in the tiebreaking run with a bases-loaded walk in the eighth inning, helping Dickey and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Kansas City Royals 4-2 on Saturday.
Dickey (11-12) allowed two runs and seven hits in eight innings to earn back-to-back wins for the first time since he beat Tampa Bay on June 26 and Detroit on July 1.
"An observant person probably saw that I changed speeds quite a bit today," Dickey said. "I was able to keep the slower knuckleball down and get some outs with it. Anytime you can add and subtract speed in the strike zone, you're going to have a better chance of your opponent mis-hitting balls. That was helpful for me today. I took some risks and they paid off."
Royals manager Ned Yost said the changing speeds made the right-hander even tougher to handle.
"He got us out front," Yost said. "We just couldn't grab a hold of it."
Casey Janssen finished for his 26th save in 28 chances, with pinch runner Chris Getz thrown out trying to steal second for the final out.
Trailing 2-1, Toronto batted around while scoring three unearned runs in the eighth against four relievers. Kansas City shortstop Alcides Escobar helped the Blue Jays with a key error.
Pinch hitter Munenori Kawasaki led off with a single against Kelvin Herrera (5-7), and went to second on a bloop hit by Jose Reyes. Will Smith came on to face Ryan Goins, who hit a potential double-play grounder that Escobar couldn't handle, allowing Kawasaki to score from second.
Escobar said his line of sight was blocked by Kawasaki on the crucial play.
"I make that play all the time," Escobar said. "I didn't see the ball, that's why I missed that. The guy blocked me."
Edwin Encarnacion walked to load the bases and Aaron Crow came on to face pinch hitter Mark DeRosa, who struck out on three pitches. Lawrie and Rajai Davis each followed with four-pitch walks, giving the Blue Jays a 4-2 lead.
"I just lost command of the strike zone which in that situation really can't happen," Crow said. "Throwing eight straight balls, it's a terrible way to lose a game."
Dickey said he felt bad for Crow as the balls piled up.
"It's just such a helpless feeling," Dickey said. "Even though you're glad, you certainly can relate to losing the feel for a minute or two. But I wasn't going to frown too long about it, that's for sure."
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