San Francisco, CA – Making his second start in a National League stadium since being traded to the American League, R.A. Dickey displayed the form that earned him last season's Cy Young Award for the Senior Circuit.
The Toronto Blue Jays knuckleball specialist fired 8 1/3 terrific innings to lead his team to a 4-0 decision over San Francisco, the Giants' first loss at AT&T Park with Barry Zito on the mound in 10 months.
Dickey (5-7) entered the matchup with a disappointing 5.18 ERA over his initial 12 assignments with the Jays, who acquired the former New York Mets ace via trade back in December, and had been battered for 12 runs and 20 hits over his two most recent outings.
He resembled the 2012 version on Wednesday, however, limiting the Giants to a pair of singles and two walks before being removed in favor of closer Casey Janssen with two on and one out in the ninth.
"He was great," said Blue Jays catcher Henry Blanco of Dickey. "He threw great pitches, up and down [in the strike zone] and did a great job."
Dickey shined at the plate as well, lashing an RBI double to break a scoreless tie during a four-run fifth inning that dealt Zito (4-4) his first home loss since a 9-1 setback to the Mets on Aug. 2 of last season.
Including Game 1 of the 2012 World Series, San Francisco had come out on top in 14 straight home contests that Zito started.
Mark DeRosa added a two-run single and Adam Lind went 3-for-4 to help Toronto earn a split of the two-game interleague series.
Zito permitted seven hits, four of which came during the fateful fifth, and three walks in the loss, the sixth in nine games for San Francisco.
Dickey had been shelled for six runs and 12 hits over six innings at Atlanta last Thursday, but had complete command of his knuckler all throughout this game.
The veteran set down the first 11 San Francisco hitters before Pablo Sandoval singled with two outs in the fourth inning, then retired the next 10 until issuing a leadoff walk to Hunter Pence in the bottom of the eighth.
"It has taken a couple of outings here to get back to my foundational mechanics, which I had today," Dickey remarked. "Maybe I can just grow from there."
Zito matched his fellow former Cy Young counterpart through the early stages, permitting only three hits while keeping it a scoreless game after four innings.
He came apart in the fifth, however.
A one-out walk to light-hitting Blanco was followed by Dickey's slap double inside the third-base bag that broke the tie, and Jose Bautista singled two batters later to drive in the Blue Jays' hurler. After a free pass to Edwin Encarnacion and a double steal that put both runners in scoring position, DeRosa laced Zito's pitch up the middle to stake Toronto to a 4-0 lead.
"I think the fifth for me was the Achilles' heel today," said Zito. "[Dickey's hit], that's going to happen. The other two hits hurt for me."
Dickey's only trouble occurred in the ninth, when Gregor Blanco singled with one out and Marco Scutaro drew a walk to place two men aboard. Janssen was then summoned by Blue Jays manager John Gibbons and promptly got Sandoval to ground into a game-ending double play.
Janssen earned his 12th save ... Dickey also bested Zito in a May 14 encounter in Toronto, striking out a season-best 10 while allowing two runs over six innings of a 10-6 Blue Jays' win ... Zito was 4-0 with a 1.40 ERA over his first seven home starts of 2013 ... Toronto had been 1-6 all-time at AT&T Park entering the contest, with the lone previous victory taking place on June 13, 2007 ... DeRosa now has knocked in 15 runs over his last 20 games and is batting .333 (15-for-55) over that stretch.