TORONTO -- R.A. Dickey finally got the type of run support he has been looking for since the start of June.
Dickey's record doesn't necessarily show it, but he's been on a pretty strong run of late. The problem is that there hasn't been enough offense to back him up.
That changed Wednesday night as Ryan Goins hit a key RBI triple and Jose Bautista homered for the first time since July 2 in Toronto's 6-4 victory over the Red Sox. What makes the win even sweeter is that it came on a night when the Blue Jays fell behind by three in the first inning.
"You hope that you can score a run every other inning and you're back in it," Dickey said in reference to the early deficit. "They put a three-spot on it, so I knew that was our opportunity and thankfully I was able to put enough pitches together and make enough pitches in the right situations."
Dickey entered having lost six of his past seven starts despite a respectable 3.54 ERA over that span. On the season, Toronto has averaged 4.09 runs during his starts, but in those seven recent outings, the club hit the four-run mark just twice. He's often put the Blue Jays in a position to win, but on this night, it was his offense that dug him out of an early hole.
Boston jumped out to an early lead on a three-run homer by David Ortiz, who has four home runs this series. That didn't look promising for the Blue Jays' chances, but they came right back in the bottom half with three runs off right-hander Clay Buchholz.
Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera got things started by reaching base, then Bautista came through with an RBI double to the corner in left. Another run scored on a fielder's choice by Dioner Navarro before Colby Rasmus capped the inning with an RBI on a groundout to first base.
"They bunched some hits together to answer back and tie things up in the first," Red Sox manager John Farrell lamented after the game.
Toronto's offense was then held in check by Buchholz until the sixth. Light-hitting catcher Josh Thole drew a one-out walk, then came around to score on an RBI triple to the gap in right-center field by Goins. It was the first extra-base hit of Goins' career and his second hit since being recalled from Triple-A Buffalo earlier this week.
Goins later scored and in the seventh Bautista gave Toronto a much-needed insurance run with a homer to left-center field in the seventh, his first dinger in almost three weeks.
Bautista has multiple hits in back-to-back games and the importance of his impact in the lineup can't be stressed enough. With Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind and Brett Lawrie out, the club needs Bautista to help carry the load.
"He's one of those guys, he can strike at any time," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "But you go back a little bit over that last road trip, he was barreling up a lot of balls right at guys.
"He did that a couple of times tonight and I think he has done it the last few days. What I saw I liked, a lot of it was going to the middle of the field, which means he stayed on the ball. He's due to heat up in the home run department."
Toronto's late rally allowed Dickey to escape with the win. He wasn't sharp as he allowed nine hits and one walk while striking out five, but he did just enough to keep the Blue Jays within striking distance. Top prospect Aaron Sanchez came on in relief and tossed a pair of scoreless innings in his Major League debut to bridge the gap to closer Casey Janssen.
"What I really did better, is that I kind of let up on the gas," Dickey said. "I was really changing speeds a lot tonight, because I needed to. My harder knuckleball wasn't moving like it normally does, so the change of speeds really helped me fight through some innings.
"When you start the game, giving up three runs, without recording an out, it can really weigh on you mentally. So it was a very satisfying win for me personally because I kept us in the game long enough for us to scratch it out."