Major League Baseball: R.A. Dickey struggles as Red Sox rout Blue Jays 13-0
TORONTO — R.A. Dickey will try to forget his latest start as quickly as possible.
Will Middlebrooks hit three home runs, two off the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, and the Boston Red Sox routed the Toronto Blue Jays 13-0 Sunday.
The Red Sox scored five runs before Dickey (0-2) got an out. Last year while with the New York Mets, he gave up a total of five runs in the first inning of 33 starts.
Boston kept swinging away and tagged the knuckleballer for eight runs — seven earned — and 10 hits in 4 2-3 innings.
It was his shortest start and the most runs he'd allowed since giving up eight runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 14-6 loss at Atlanta last April 18.
"Throughout the course of the season you're going to have a clunker or two," Dickey said. "You just have to try and forget it as soon as you can. Obviously, today was one of those days for me.
"A lot of this game is about how to handle adversity and manage where you're at," he said. "That'll begin for me tonight."
Boston jumped on Dickey in the first. Ellsbury led off with a double, Shane Victorino singled and Dustin Pedroia drove in a run with a groundball single through the right side.
Mike Napoli hit a two-run double and Middlebrooks followed with a first pitch homer.
"I thought we had a very good approach against Dickey," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We laid off some tough knuckleballs down in the bottom of the zone."
Even the outs Dickey got were loud. Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia each flied out to the warning track before Jackie Bradley Jr. struck out to end the inning.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons was quick to brush aside any worries about his ace.
"I'm not concerned," Gibbons said. "It's two games in. He's going to have a great year for us. They just hit him hard. I don't know any other way to describe it. They stayed on the ball and did a great job."
Napoli added a two-run shot, and Jacoby Ellsbury and Nava also went deep as the Red Sox connected for six homers and set season highs for runs and hits (15), one day after getting just two hits in a 5-0 loss.
Middlebrooks went 4 for 5 with four RBIs. He hit two home runs off Dickey, a two-run shot to right in the first inning and a solo drive into the second deck in left in the fifth.
Middlebrooks connected again off Dave Bush with a leadoff longball to left in the seventh, the first three-homer game of his career. He also doubled.
"He had about 2,000 feet of homers," winning pitcher Jon Lester said.
Middlebrooks flied out to the left-field warning track in his final at-bat in the eighth.
"I was blowing on it running down the line but it didn't have enough steam," he said.
Middlebrooks said both his homers off Dickey came on fastballs.
"I faced R.A. in spring training so I kind of had an idea of what his movement was and his velocity, because he throws a lot harder than a lot of (knuckleball pitchers)," Middlebrooks said. "I know certain counts he likes to go to fastballs. When he's not locating his knuckleball well, he tries to get ahead with the fastball and that helped, knowing that."
Nava went back-to-back with Middlebrooks in the seventh, a homer that bounced off the top of the wall in center field and went out. It's the first time this season the Red Sox have hit consecutive home runs.
Ellsbury had three hits, including a leadoff homer into the second deck in right in the eighth, his first. Three batters later, Napoli capped the rout with his second homer of the year. He finished with four RBIs.
Lester (2-0) allowed five hits, all singles, in seven innings. He walked none and struck out six, improving to 6-2 with a 2.13 ERA in his past nine starts at Rogers Centre.
"His performance was kind of overshadowed because we hit six home runs," Middlebrooks said. "He shut out a good-hitting team. All his pitches were on and when that cutter is on, he's really dangerous."
Clayton Mortensen pitched the final two innings for Boston.
Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista was held out of the starting lineup, the third straight game he's missed with a sore right ankle. The two-time major league home run leader twisted his ankle stepping on first base while beating out a double play in the eighth inning last Thursday.
NOTES: Lester had to jump out of the way of Edwin Encarnacion's shattered bat in the fourth. Encarnacion grounded to short on the play. ... Toronto claimed RHP Edgar Gonzalez off waivers from Houston and transferred RHP Dustin MCGowan from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. ... The Red Sox open their home schedule at Fenway Park on Monday afternoon. RHP Clay Buchholz faces Baltimore LHP Wei-Yin Chen.
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