Toronto ace R.A. Dickey tries to make it two straight wins on Monday when the Blue Jays open a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rogers Centre.
Dickey won for the first time in four starts on Tuesday, as he held the world champion San Francisco Giants to a pair of runs and six hits in six innings. The National League's reigning Cy Young Award winner also struck out a season- high 10 batters to run his record to 3-5, while lowering his ERA to 4.83.
"Early on, that knuckleball was alive," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He took advantage of the fact that we gave him some cushion there, and he got some big strikeouts late in the game."
Dickey, who did not get a decision against Tampa two starts ago, has faced the Rays eight times (4 starts) and is 1-2 with a 5.13 ERA.
"I faced Tampa two starts ago, so they're pretty fresh in my mind and I have some notes that I'll reflect on," Dickey said. "I pretty much know what I need to do to be successful."
Dickey will be trying to help his Jays get back on track after they lost two in a row to the New York Yankees. Sunday's finale was postponed by rain, but Toronto had entered that series having won four in a row.
Tampa, meanwhile, will rely on young right-hander Jake Odorizzi, who was one of the centerpieces of the deal that sent James Shields to Kansas City. He made two starts for the Royals last season and was 0-1 with a 4.91.
Odorizzi, though, shined for Triple-A Durham this year, posting a 4-0 mark to go along with a 3.83 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 47 strikeouts in 44 2/3 innings through eight starts.
"He's not intimidated by all this stuff," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Get him out there. Start him. ... Hopefully, he gets at least five or six innings in there."
Tampa took all three of its games with the Baltimore Orioles over the weekend and has won nine of 11 overall.The Rays completed the sweep on Sunday, as Matt Moore became the majors' first eight-game winner in the 3-1 triumph.
"To come in here (and get a sweep) indicates how much better we've been playing," Maddon said.
Tampa should keep rolling, as it has won 12 of 17 north of the border. The Rays, though, split a four-game series with the Jays at home earlier in the month.