TORONTO – Toronto’s Melky Cabrera looked like the hitter who dominated National League pitchers last season.
The Blue Jays designated hitter used a bat from his old San Francisco days against his former team Tuesday night and it worked in a big way. Cabrera had a season-high four hits and scored twice in Toronto’s 10-6 win over the Giants.
“He can hit, he’s always been a good hitter,” said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. “Early on he struggled like just about everybody else. Now he’s starting to feel it a little bit.”
It was a memorable day for Cabrera, who received his World Series ring from Giants manager Bruce Bochy while in the weight room before the game. Cabrera was leading the National League with a .346 batting average last season when he was given a 50-game suspension after a positive test for testosterone.
The Giants didn’t put Cabrera on their post-season roster and still won the World Series. Cabrera signed a US$16-million, two-year deal with the Blue Jays in the off-season.
It seemed like every Toronto player had a season high of some kind in a game that would have been a blowout had Giants slugger Pablo Sandoval not hit a three-run shot with two outs in the ninth.
Toronto starter R.A. Dickey had a season-high 10 strikeouts, Canadian Brett Lawrie had a season-high three hits and the Blue Jays had a season-high 18 hits on the night.
“We’ve got some good hitters, some of the better hitters in the game,” Gibbons said.
“We always felt it was just a matter of time. They were feeling it, they were all trying to do the job.”
Cabrera helped spark Toronto’s six-run first inning. He reached on an error to start things off and later drove in the sixth run of the frame as the Blue Jays sent 11 batters to the plate against Giants starter Barry Zito (3-2).
That was more than enough support for Dickey (3-5), who had his knuckleball floating nicely over his six-inning effort, allowing two earned runs and six hits. Relievers Brett Cecil, Brad Lincoln and Esmil Rogers finished things off in front of 31,753 fans at Rogers Centre.
“The offensive output is great,” Dickey said. “It’s great to see a lot of guys get involved. It was a real community win tonight.
“It can be fun when that happens.”
San Francisco (23-16) had its three-game winning streak come to an end. Toronto (16-24) extended its winning streak to three games with the victory over the National League West leaders.
In the first inning, Cabrera took advantage of a Sandoval throwing error to reach second base. Jose Bautista walked and Edwin Encarnacion’s flare to right field scored Cabrera and moved Bautista to third, with Encarnacion taking second base on the throw home.
Mark DeRosa followed with a liner that nearly hit Encarnacion on its way to centre field. Bautista scored and Encarnacion came around too when outfielder Angel Pagan bobbled the ball and was late with his throw.
Colby Rasmus and Emilio Bonifacio added RBI singles before Cabrera drove in Rasmus with the sixth run of the frame.
Zito settled down after that but the Giants were unable to get a significant rally going against Dickey. San Francisco got on the board in the second inning when Nick Noonan hit an RBI single that scored Hunter Pence.
In the fourth, Brandon Belt made it a four-run game with a solo shot that hit the facing of the second deck in right-centre field. It was Belt’s fifth home run of the season.