Jays' Dickey gets ball in opener with White Sox

R.A. Dickey will try to follow up his best start of the season on Monday when the Toronto Blue Jays open a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.

Dickey resembled the pitcher who was the National League's Cy Young Award winner a year ago his last time out on Wednesday in San Francisco, as he held the defending world champions to two hits over 8 1/3 scoreless innings. He also struck out five and improved to 5-7 to go along with a 4.66 ERA.

"I was changing speeds a lot today, which was good," Dickey said afterward. "I was able to throw a 63-64 mph [knuckleball] for a strike and I was able to throw a 79-mph one for a strike.

"As I've gotten healthier, I felt like I've been able to have a latitude to be able to do that. Before, it was just trying to muster everything I could to survive an outing, and recently I've felt a bit better."

Dickey beat the White Sox with six scoreless innings earlier in the year and is 2-2 lifetime versus them with a 7.36 ERA in seven games (3 starts).

Toronto was denied a series sweep over the Texas Rangers on Sunday, as it dropped a 6-4 decision. Adam Lind hit a three-run homer and Edwin Encarnacion drove in the other run for the Jays, who had a three-game winning streak stopped.

Starter Josh Johnson needed 109 pitches to get through five innings, surrendering three runs on five hits along with four walks and as many strikeouts.

"Ideally, we're looking for more innings, but that didn't happen," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Johnson.

Chicago, meanwhile, salvaged a split in its four-game set with the Oakland Athletics on Sunday, as Alex Rios and Tyler Flowers each hit solo homers to back Hector Santiago in the White Sox' 4-2 win.

Santiago (2-4) picked up his first win in over a month in limiting the Athletics to four hits over 6 1/3 frames. He struck out six and gave up two runs -- one earned -- while walking three.

"He was effectively wild," said A's third baseman Josh Donaldson. "You had to respect all of his pitches, he did a good job."

Addison Reed notched his 19th save of the season with a 1-2-3 ninth, Gordon Beckham had an RBI double and Conor Gillaspie added a sac fly to help the White Sox earn their second straight win.

"Teams go on winning streaks too," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura, whose team had dropped 10 of 11 before grabbing their first win of the weekend. "As cold as you can get, you can get just as hot."

Getting the call for the White Sox will be righty Dylan Axelrod, who is 3-4 with a 3.73 ERA. Axelrod did not get a decision on Wednesday in Seattle despite throwing 5 1/3 scoreless innings. However, he walked five batters in his team's wild 7-5 win.

Axelrod is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in three starts against the Blue Jays.

Chicago has split its four meetings with the Jays this season.