* R.A. Dickey gave his team a chance — he did a starter’s job giving his club an opportunity to win — but in the end two hits were all the Blue Jays could muster in a 2-1 home opener loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
By Melissa Couto
Canadian Baseball Network
On most nights, giving up just two runs over six innings classifies as a pretty good performance from your starting pitcher.
Unless both those runs are walked in with the bases loaded, and the opposing pitcher is having one of the best games of his life.
R.A. Dickey walked in two consecutive two-out, bases-loaded runs and the Tampa Bay Rays got eight sparkling innings from starter Jake Odorizzi en route to a 2-1 victory that spoiled the Blue Jays’ home opener on Monday night.
“I lost my release point a little bit in the fourth,” Dickey (0-1) told reporters after the game. “They really made me work. They did a good job of laying off some really close pitches and I didn’t make the big pitch when I had to.”
Odorizzi (2-0) allowed only two hits and one earned run while walking three and striking out three.
Brad Boxberger walked Jose Bautista to lead off the ninth, but he was thrown out stealing second base as Edwin Encarnacion struck out. Josh Donaldson hit a long fly ball to right field to end the game.
Toronto continues its four-game series against the Rays on Tuesday with young lefty Daniel Norris (1-0) taking the hill.
Highlights from Game 7 of 162:
— Devon Travis continued to impress in his first big league season. He drove in the Blue Jays’ lone run with a single in the fifth inning.
— Dickey settled down after the troublesome fourth inning. The veteran knuckleballer walked five but gave up just three hits (along with the two runs) and struck out six through six innings.
— Before the game, new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, who was at Rogers Centre for the Jays’ home opener, told the media that Toronto could be a candidate to host an all-star game in the near future. The last (and only) time the Midsummer Classic was played in the city was in 1991. Manfred also said that the crowds at Olympic Stadium during the Blue Jays’ exhibition games in Montreal were a “very positive thing,” though he stressed that a number of hurdles would have to be crossed before a major league team could operate in the city.
Major League Canadians
Rockies RP John Axford (Port Dover, Ont.) was placed on Colorado’s family medical emergency leave list on Sunday to be with his two-year-old son, Jameson, who was bit twice in the foot by a rattlesnake last week. Jameson will need further surgery and was airlifted from Arizona to Denver on Monday. … Athletics third baseman and former Blue Jay Brett Lawrie (Langley, BC) hit his first home run of the season on Monday. Lawrie hit a solo shot off Houston’s Scott Feldman in the second inning of Oakland’s 8-1 win over the Astros. Earlier in the week, Lawrie struck out four times on 12 pitches. … Reds 1B Joey Votto (Etobicoke, Ont.) was 2 for 5 in Cincinnati’s extra-innings loss to the Cubs on Monday.
Minor League Canadians
Triple-A Buffalo left-hander Andrew Albers (North Battleford, Sask.) didn’t have the best start to his season. Albers lasted just 4 2-3 innings, giving up four runs on eight hits and two walks. He also struck out one batter as the Bisons fell 5-1 to Rochester last Thursday. … RHP Brock Dykxhoorn (Goderich, Ont.) of the class-A Quad Cities River Bandits (Astros) pitched five scoreless frames on Monday, giving up just two hits while walking two and striking out six batters.
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