TORONTO — With just over a month left in what has been a very disappointing season, the Toronto Blue Jays are hoping to take small steps now with an eye on spring training and the 2014 campaign.
Toronto bounced back from an awful road trip with a solid 5-2 victory over New York on Monday night in the opener of a six-game homestand. R.A. Dickey allowed one earned run over 6 1/3 innings to help the Blue Jays beat the Yankees for the first time in 11 games.
“The real tragedy in the season will be if there’s no growth out of what’s happened,” Dickey said. “So we’re in a place where we’re probably evaluating some things, seeing what we can do better and how we can perform better next year and what pieces to the puzzle are going to fit.
“If we’re able to do that, then we’re able to take a step forward if nothing else from a year that has not gone as expected for anybody.”
Edwin Encarnacion drove in two runs and Jose Reyes scored twice for the Blue Jays (59-73), who have spent most of the year in last place in the A.L. East. The bullpen did its job as Aaron Loup, Sergio Santos and Casey Janssen — with his 24th save — kept New York off the scoresheet once Dickey left the mound.
“Everything fell in line tonight but the key was (it was a) close ballgame, we plated some runs, gave us a little breathing room,” said Toronto manager John Gibbons. “That’s what we haven’t been able to do the last couple of weeks.”
Toronto was 2-8 on its recent road swing and needed a quality start from Dickey (10-12), who delivered a steady performance on a hot, humid evening at Rogers Centre. His knuckleball was effective as he struck out six, walked three and allowed six hits.
“He’s on a nice little roll,” Gibbons said. “He’s pitching pretty good. He’s got to feel good.”
Dickey’s lone earned run came when Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez turned on a pitch in the fifth inning for a solo shot that tied the game. It was his third homer of the season and 650th of his career.
The Blue Jays came back with three runs in the bottom half of the frame.
They took advantage of a rare error from right-fielder Ichiro Suzuki, who misplayed a drive from Encarnacion near the warning track.
Reyes scored on the error and Adam Lind followed by lashing another ball into right field to push Ryan Goins across. After an intentional walk to Brett Lawrie, Moises Sierra hit a sacrifice fly that scored Encarnacion.
That was it for New York starter Phil Hughes (4-13), who allowed three earned runs and seven hits.