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  • Toronto Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey pitches to the Tampa Bay Rays during first-inning baseball game action in Toronto, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)

Friday, September 27, 2013 11:52 pm

RA Dickey leads Blue Jays over Rays 6-3

By IAN HARRISONAssociated Press

R.A. Dickey finished a difficult and disappointing season with a win.

Dickey slowed Tampa Bay's stretch run, leading the Toronto Blue Jays to a 6-3 victory Friday night that stopped the Rays' seven-game winning streak.

Dickey (14-13) allowed two runs and five hits in 7 1-3 innings, retiring 13 of 14 during one stretch. The 38-year-old knuckleballer, acquired from the New York Mets during the offseason after he won the NL Cy Young Award, struggled earlier this season but finished strongly, going 5-1 with a 3.17 ERA in his last seven starts.

"He had a good year," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "It was his 14th win and for a team below .500, you'll take that."

Toronto had hoped to be well above .500 after adding Dickey, shortstop Jose Reyes, left-hander Mark Buehrle and righty Josh Johnson in a pair of offseason trades. Instead, the Blue Jays were ravaged by injuries and sunk by poor starting pitching.

"We're playing hard. We're not going to give games away right now," said infielder Ryan Goins, who had two hits. "We have a nice chance to play spoiler here at the end so it's going to be fun."

Dickey dropped to 9-12 after a road loss to the New York Yankees on Aug. 21 but lost just once more the rest of the way.

"There's a lot of positives I'd like to take out of the last three months," he said. "I did a pretty good job of growing over the season."

Tampa Bay wasted that 2-0 lead and committed a season-high three errors, including a pair by two-time Gold Glove third baseman Evan Longoria.

"I had an uncharacteristically sloppy game," Longoria said. "Unfortunately, they came back to bite us today."

Tampa Bay, which had won seven of its previous nine against Toronto, went ahead on home runs by Ben Zobrist in the first and Delmon Young in the second, his second in two games and the 100th of his career.

Dickey allowed 35 homers, one behind the major league-high total of Oakland's A.J. Griffin (36).

Longoria said Dickey controlled the game after giving up the early homers.

"He just shut us down offensively after that," Longoria said.

Jeremy Hellickson retired nine in a row before Reyes singled to open the fourth. After a sacrifice, Brett Lawrie reached on Longoria's fielding error and Moises Sierra and Anthony Gose followed with RBI singles.

Goins grounded a go-ahead single up the middle, and center fielder Sam Fuld overran the ball, which went all the way to the wall. Anthony Gose scored on the error for a 4-2 lead, and Goins was thrown out at the plate on Zobrist's relay from shortstop.

"I think I just took my eye off it just a second too early," Fuld said. "You can't really imagine a worse scenario as an outfielder."

Hellickson (12-10) allowed six runs, three earned, and six hits in 4 2-3 innings. Hellickson, who walked two and struck out five, said he was disappointed not to overcome his teammates' defensive miscues.

"The guys have been picking me up all year, offensively and defensively," Hellickson said. "It would have been nice to pick them up for once."

Lawrie and Sierra chased Hellickson with run-scoring singles in the fifth.

Dickey left after two errors and a walk helped the Rays load the bases with one out in the eighth. Sergio Santos came on and got James Loney to ground into a double play on the first pitch.

"That was our opportunity right there," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

Santos gave up Kelly Johnson's RBI double in the ninth but struck out pinch-hitter Luke Scott for his first save in three chances.

Lawrie's lip was cut in the seventh when a Roberto Hernandez pitch grazed his shoulder and bounced off his cheek. Bleeding from his mouth as he walked to first base, Lawrie was checked by a trainer but remained in the game. He was replaced by Mark DeRosa in the ninth.

"He was bleeding from his lip and from inside his mouth so we took him out for precautionary reasons," Gibbons said. "He's a tough dude."

NOTES: Tampa Bay's previous three-error game was Sept. 18, 2012 against Boston. ... Toronto's Adam Lind (back) missed his second straight game. ... Rays SS Yunel Escobar (left ankle) is expected to return to the starting lineup Saturday. ... The Blue Jays are 39-40 at home with two games remaining. They've had a winning record at home in every season since 2004.