R.A. Dickey goes after his third straight win on Friday when the Toronto Blue Jays open a three-game set with the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
Dickey has had a miserable first season with the Blue Jays, but at times has resembled the pitcher who won 21 games and a National League Cy Young Award last season for the New York Mets.
The knuckleballer was on the mark Saturday against Kansas City, as he surrendered two runs in eight innings to run his record to 11-12, while lowering his ERA to 4.30.
"I changed speeds quite a bit today," Dickey said. "I was able to keep the slower knuckleball down, and got some outs with it. Any time you can add and subtract speed in the strike zone, you're going to have a better chance of your opponent mishitting balls. That was helpful for me today. I took some risks, and they paid off."
Dickey has faced the Twins eight times (4 starts) and is 1-2 against them with a 6.52 ERA .
Toronto was denied a series sweep in Arizona on Wednesday, as it dropped a 4-3 decision in 10 innings at Chase Field. The loss, though, was only the third in the last 10 games for the underachieving Blue Jays.
Hoping to keep them in the loss column on Friday will be righty Mike Pelfrey, who is 5-10 with a 4.86 ERA, but is coming off an impressive showing. Pelfrey gave up one run and six hits and struck out seven in seven innings in Texas on Saturday, but did not factor in the decision of his team's 2-1 loss.
He allowed a run and walked six batters in five innings of a no-decision in his previous outing.
"This was probably his best outing, if not for the year, in a long time," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's throwing the ball pretty good right now. He's pounding the zone. I don't know how many changeups he threw, but he moved the ball in and out. His pace was good."
Pelfrey tossed six scoreless innings to beat the Jays the only other time he faced them.
Minnesota had a three-game winning streak stopped on Wednesday with a 6-5 loss to Houston. Alex Presley went 2-for-4, including an early three-run homer for the Twins, who lost for only the second time in six tries.
Liam Hendriks lasted only 4 1/3 frames, charged with eight hits and five runs -- three earned.
"Today was just embarrassing. I got behind guys. I left balls up in the zone," lamented Hendriks. "Whenever I was ahead, I was OK, but the rest of the time, they made me pay for it."
Toronto took two of three from the Twins earlier in the season.