ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Angels had no answer for R.A. Dickey’s mesmerizing knuckleball.
Dickey scattered four hits over seven innings for his first victory in over a month, Jose Reyes homered and drove in three runs, and the Toronto Blue Jays ended a season-worst five-game skid Tuesday night with a 4-0 win that halted the Angels’ 11-game home winning streak.
“He had it dancing tonight for sure, and he had it in the zone,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “We faced him a couple of times when he’s out of the zone with it. And if he’s really struggling to get it into the zone, it looks like you get some pretty good looks at him. Tonight he had really good movement. He was throwing strikes with it and we didn’t get too many good looks.”
Tyler Skaggs (4-5) gave up three runs and 11 hits over 6 2-3 innings in his second start off the disabled list, after missing 23 games because of a right hamstring strain. The left-hander, pitching at Angel Stadium for the first time since May 20, is 0-4 with a 4.18 ERA in his last five starts overall.
“I thought I threw the ball really well,” said Skaggs, who beat the Blue Jays on May 10 at Toronto. “When I faced them the last time, they were swinging early – and they kept swinging today. They swung the bats a lot better than I’ve seen them in the past, and they put together good at bats.”
Reyes opened the scoring in the fifth with an RBI single that snapped Toronto’s 0-for-25 drought with runners in scoring position. He increased the margin to 3-0, driving Skaggs’ 100th pitch into the left field bullpen with two outs in the seventh after a single by Munenori Kawasaki.
Only one of Reyes’ previous 53 home runs has come with more than one man on base – a three-run shot against Colorado’s Jeff Francis on Aug. 17, 2012, at Coors Field with the Miami Marlins.
“Outside of a couple of pitches – maybe a changeup to Jose Reyes that ended up in the bullpen – I thought Tyler was in a zone early and often,” Scioscia said. “He showed a good breaking ball and he had a good changeup. He battled to a certain point, but he pitched with his back against the wall the whole game.”
Dickey (7-8) struck out five and walked one after losing his previous four starts. The 2012 NL Cy young Award winner got back in the win column for the first time since beating the Tigers on June 4.
“I thought they would be a pretty patient team, not having seen the knuckleball this year at all. And they were. So I wanted to have a knuckleball that I could depend on for strikes,” Dickey said. “I tried to throw as many first-pitch strikes as I could – at least one of the first two pitches. That 74-mile-an-hour knuckleball was kind of my strike knuckleball tonight.”
The 39-year-old right-hander allowed only two Angels to reach base through the first six innings. He gave up a one-out single to Erick Aybar in the second and a walk to Chris Iannetta two batters later before retiring Collin Cowgill on a flyball to end the threat.
It was the first of 12 consecutive outs for the knuckleballer before Mike Trout doubled to left field with two outs in the sixth and was thrown out at third by Melky Cabrera.
Before the game, the Angels optioned infielder Grant Green to Triple-A Salt Lake and recalled reliever Cam Bedrosian from Double-A Arkansas. This is Bedrosian’s second stint this season with the big club. Last month, the son of 1987 NL Cy Young Award-winning closer Steve Bedrosian gave up nine earned runs, eight hits, seven walks over 5 2-3 innings in his six appearances.
NOTES: The Angels are going all out to help get RHP Garrett Richards the final spot on the AL All-Star squad through the internet fan balloting. During batting practice, they all wore black T-shirts with the hashtag: “VoteGRich” and `14 All-Star” in red lettering on the front – with his No. 43 on the backs. The grounds crew stenciled the hashtag on the infield dirt behind second base, behind the batter’s box, and on the back slope of the mound. … Darin Martroianni had an RBI single in the eighth for the Blue Jays, who snapped a seven-game road losing streak and climbed within 2 1-2 games of AL East-leading Baltimore after the Orioles were rained out at Washington.