Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher R.A. Dickey works against the Tampa Bay Rays during second inning AL home opener baseball action in Toronto on Monday

Blue Jays’ bats go silent in home opener

The dancing, floating knuckleball that R.A. Dickey throws can handcuff the best hitters in baseball. When the pitch gets away from him, it can also be quite costly. Dickey issued a pair of bases-loaded walks in the fourth inning Monday night and that was enough for the Tampa Bay Rays to shade Toronto 2-1 and spoil the Blue Jays’ home opener before a sellout crowd at Rogers Centre.

TORONTO — The dancing, floating knuckleball that R.A. Dickey throws can handcuff the best hitters in baseball.

When the pitch gets away from him, it can also be quite costly.

Dickey issued a pair of bases-loaded walks in the fourth inning Monday night and that was enough for the Tampa Bay Rays to shade Toronto 2-1 and spoil the Blue Jays’ home opener before a sellout crowd at Rogers Centre.

“I throw a knuckleball. Some would come out, they would move a ton. Some would come out, they would stay high,” Dickey said. “I lost my release point a little bit in the fourth. 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 couldn’t get much going against Tampa Bay starter Jake Odorizzi, who held Toronto to two hits and one earned run over eight innings. Brad Boxberger worked the ninth for his third save.

“We ran into a guy tonight that we need to give our due to,” Dickey said. “He pitched a great game. He was throwing three pitches for strikes, very sharp, keeping guys off balance. It’s hard to run through our lineup like that at home. He was very, very good. So sometimes you just have to give credit to the other guy.

“But we’ve got a lot of things to be upbeat about. Nobody’s going to hang their head.”

The game was the first in a four-game series between the American League East clubs. It’s part of a 10-game homestand for the Blue Jays (4-3), who won their first two series on the road.

Odorizzi (2-0) gave up a pair of two-out walks in the opening inning. A wild pitch put both runners in scoring position but the right-hander caught Josh Donaldson looking to get out of it.

In the third inning, the Rays (4-3) put runners on second and third after an infield single, walk and a balk. But Dickey (0-1) got cleanup hitter Evan Longoria to fly out to end the threat.

Desmond Jennings and Allan Dykstra stroked back-to-back singles to open the fourth. Rene Rivera popped up and Dickey made Kevin Kiermaier wave at a knuckleball for a strikeout.

Tim Beckham walked to load the bases and David DeJesus worked a full count. The towel-waving crowd of 48,414 tried to will Dickey to a third strike but he was well wide of the plate to give Tampa Bay its first run.

The veteran right-hander walked in a second run by giving another free pass to Steven Souza Jr. Asdrubal Cabrera flew out to end the Tampa half of the inning.

Odorizzi, meanwhile, settled in after his shaky opening frame. The Blue Jays didn’t get a hit until Kevin Pillar’s two-out double in the fifth inning and Devon Travis lashed a single to drive in Toronto’s only run.

Dickey allowed three hits and two earned runs over six innings. He had six strikeouts but walked five batters.

Roberto Osuna worked two innings of relief for Toronto and Aaron Loup pitched the ninth. Jose Bautista walked to lead off the bottom of the ninth but was caught stealing after Edwin Encarnacion struck out.

“That might have been as big a play as we’ve had so far this season,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. “I just saw the highlight of (Rivera’s) throw. That was a bullet down there.”

Donaldson hit a towering fly ball to the warning track to end the game, which took two hours 30 minutes to play.

The Rays outhit the Blue Jays 3-2.

The Blue Jays have lost four straight home openers for the first time in franchise history. Toronto fell to 26-13 in home openers, with a 16-10 mark at Rogers Centre.

Just Posted

Climate change’s impact on outdoor hockey discussed in Red Deer

Red Deer River Watershed Alliance held a forum Friday at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame

Collision between Red Deer transit bus and truck investigated by RCMP

No one on bus was hurt, truck driver had minor injuries

Eckville man facing about 80 child sexual exploitation charges in court

More than half a million photos and videos found on electronic devices

Good-bye ice and snow, hello potholes on Red Deer roads

City workers will be spending 20 hours a day on various road repairs

Red Deer woman wins $1 million in lottery

A Red Deer woman spent $5 on a lottery ticket and became… Continue reading

WATCH: Fashion show highlights Cree designers

The fashion show was part of a Samson Cree Nation conference on MMIW

Puddle splashing: A rite of spring

Is there anything more fun than driving through water-filled potholes in the… Continue reading

Special evaluations can help seniors cope with cancer care

Before she could start breast cancer treatment, Nancy Simpson had to walk… Continue reading

Home renovator Mike Holmes oversees reno for paralyzed Humboldt Broncos player

AIRDRIE, Alta. — One of Canada’s most recognizable home renovators has acted… Continue reading

The endless war against invasive species

Group looks to protect native ecological environments in Alberta

WATCH: Fashion show highlights Cree designers

The fashion show was part of a Samson Cree Nation conference on MMIW

Flyers, Blackhawks, Sabres and Lightning to Europe in ‘19-20

Jakub Voracek was psyched at the mere suggestion the Philadelphia Flyers might… Continue reading

Danish receiver Nielsen looking to defy the odds again, this time at CFL combine

TORONTO — He’s coming to the CFL’s national combine as a definite… Continue reading

Mom with kids on YouTube channel suspected of child abuse

MARICOPA, Ariz. — A woman who operated a popular YouTube channel featuring… Continue reading

Most Read