TORONTO — Toronto right-handed knuckleballer R.A. Dickey pitched into the seventh inning to earn the win as the Blue Jays beat the Boston Red Sox 7-1 defeat R.A. Dickey Bobblehead Day at Rogers Centre.
Third baseman Brett Lawrie drove in two runs with a homer and a double and first baseman Edwin Encarnacion also had two RBIs as the Blue Jays (12-13) averted a three-game sweep at the hands of the Red Sox (12-14).
But the big difference was the performance of right-handed reliever Steve Delabar who replaced Dickey with one out in the seventh and runners at second and third. He retired center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr., on a pop foul to third and catcher David Ross on a fly to deep center to preserve what was a then a 2-1 lead.
"The key there was Delabar coming in and getting (center fielder Jackie) Bradley (Jr.) to pop and getting out of that inning," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "That's the game right there, possibly. That was a much needed win, I would definitely say."
The Blue Jays tacked on two runs in the seventh and three in the eighth to put the game away.
"Sure enough, the bullpen held up again," Dickey said. "It was really a collective win that's what really feels good about it."
Dickey (2-3) allowed five hits, no walks and one run with six strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings.
"He didn't walk anybody," Gibbons said. "That's the key for everybody."
Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester (2-4) allowed five hits, no walks and four runs and had seven strikeouts over seven innings.
"I thought I threw the ball well," Lester said. "I made a couple mistakes and they made me pay for it later in the game."
The Blue Jays became the first team in major-league history to have six players from the Dominican Republic in their starting lineup.
"It might get me a job in winter ball this winter," Gibbons said. "Very good lineup. I'll be in the next WBC (World Baseball Classic)."
Delabar took over from Dickey with one out in the seventh after a double by shortstop Xander Bogaerts put runners at second and third but Delabar snuffed put the threat.
"When I can come in and save somebody else's runs and get out of it without giving up anything, it's always great," Delabar said. "We got out of that without giving up the runs, kept the lead and we were able to get the win. A win is a win whenever you can get them."
The hard-throwing Delabar presented a big contrast to the soft stuff of Dickey.
"It's one of those things where you just have to make an adjustment," Bradley said. "Obviously, he's throwing harder; just tried to put a good swing on something in the zone. I have to get the job done. I'm very tough (on myself). I feel like I let the team down in that situation right there. I had an opportunity to tie the game up and who knows what can happen from there. I have to get better, I really do."
The Blue Jays increased their lead to 4-1 with two runs in the home seventh. Encarnacion and Lawrie opened the inning with doubles to produce one run. A deep fly out by designated hitter Juan Francisco moved Lawrie to third and he scored on a ground out to Lester by right fielder Moises Sierra.
"I felt like we had chances. ... I let it get out of hand there in the seventh," Lester said. "I felt like I threw the ball better than the four runs that are up there. But that's baseball."
The Blue Jays added three runs in the eighth on singles by shortstop Jose Reyes, left fielder Melky Cabrera and right fielder Jose Bautista against left-hander Andrew Miller. Encarnacion drove in two runs with a double to center against right-hander Burke Badenhop.
Delabar also pitched the top of the eighth and right-hander Esmil Rogers pitched the ninth for Toronto.
The Red Sox strung together two-out singles in the second by right fielder Jonny Gomes, Bogaerts and Bradley to take a 1-0 lead.
Lawrie tied the game with his sixth homer of the season on a 3-2 pitch with one out in the home second."That was the mistake," Lester said. "I made a mistake to Edwin (Encarnacion) later in the game."
The Blue Jays took a 2-1 lead in the third on a single by catcher Josh Thole, a sacrifice by second baseman Jonathan Diaz and a two-out double by Cabrera.