A pair of aces acquired in the offseason get together for the first time on Saturday night when the Toronto Blue Jays visit Kauffman Stadium for the second of three games with the Kansas City Royals.
Reigning National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, who was 20-6 for the New York Mets last season, makes his third start for the Blue Jays. His two subsequent outings with his new team haven't gone well, instead resulting in losses to Cleveland and Boston on April 2 and 7, as Dickey has been touched for 15 hits and 10 earned runs in just 10 2/3 innings - posting an 8.44 earned run average.
His ERA across 233 2/3 innings for the Mets last season was just 2.73 and he allowed an opposition batting average of .226, exactly 100 points less than the .326 clip that the Indians and Red Sox had against him.
Dickey, who was drafted by the Texas Rangers in 1996, pitched for Texas, Seattle and Minnesota before heading to New York to begin the 2010 season. He's 1-3 in 10 career meetings with the Royals.
He'll be opposed by righty James Shields, who starts for the third time since a seven-player deal that sent him from the Rays to the Royals on Dec. 9.
Shields, who was third in AL Cy Young Award voting in 2011, returned to win 15 times in 25 decisions with Tampa Bay last season while working 227 2/3 innings and posting a 3.52 ERA.
He opened his stint with the Royals with a 1-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox on April 1, but rebounded for a win on April 7 after allowing four runs in six innings of a 9-8 victory at Philadelphia.
In 21 career starts against Toronto, he's 11-5 with a 3.24 ERA.
On Friday, Emilio Bonifacio went 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored, while two Toronto relievers combined for four scoreless and hitless innings to lift the Blue Jays to an 8-4 win.
The Jays overcame a rough start from J.A. Happ (2-0), who picked up the win despite allowing four runs and three walks in five innings of work. Sergio Santos pitched a perfect sixth before Aaron Loup picked up his first career save with three perfect innings.
Jose Reyes picked up two RBI and a stolen base for Toronto before leaving the game with an ankle injury he suffered while sliding into second base in the sixth inning. Adam Lind also had two RBI for the Blue Jays, who have won two of three.
"He felt something pop," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons about Reyes. "It's a nightmare. He's a big part of this team. He's in a lot of ways the face of this team, so we've got to deal with it. This train keeps moving."
Lorenzo Cain had two RBI for the Kansas City, which had a four-game winning streak come to an end.
Luis Mendoza (0-1) picked up the loss after yielding eight runs - seven earned - over 5 2/3 innings.
"We made some plays that weren't so pretty," said Kansas City manager Ned Yost. "We threw the ball around a little bit, but that happens on occasion. But you won't see it very often with us."
Toronto won six of eight games between the teams in 2012. The Royals won four of seven in 2011.