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Dickey has breakthrough, beats A's

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TORONTO -- Right-hander R.A. Dickey leaped over the wall that the seventh inning has been for him this season and pitched into the ninth inning on Saturday.

And with center fielder Anthony Gose and shortstop Jose Reyes running the bases with abandon, the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Oakland Athletics, 5-2, for their fifth win in a row.

"Just got to keep pushing through the envelope," said Dickey, who had pitched into the seventh inning in eight previous starts this season but had completed it only once before, in an April 10 loss to Houston.

"I feel like I've been right on the edge and that's what's been kind of encouraging. I was able to break through the seventh and through the eighth."

Second baseman Brett Lawrie hit a solo home run for the Blue Jays (28-22), who have won 15 of their last 20 games to take first place in the American League East.

Dickey (5-4) held the Athletics to two runs and five hits, including a home run and a triple by designated hitter Yoenis Cespedes who also singled in the ninth against right-hander Dustin McGowan.

Dickey walked one while striking out four in 8 1/3 innings. All five of his wins have come at home.

"He had a good knuckleball going," said A's left fielder Craig Gentry, who was 0-for-3 and committed an error that led to a Blue Jay run.

"He mixed in his fastball a little bit, too, just to kind of keep it in the back of our minds. That's a tough pitch to hit, especially when you never see it. It was moving all over the place."

Athletics right-hander Jesse Chavez (4-2) allowed eight hits, one walk and four runs (two earned) over 5 1/3 innings while having his two-game winning string snapped.

"He was good," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We didn't play too good behind him. The guys were commenting that the ball was a little bouncier than normal. That's typical with AstroTurf when the sun is out. We hadn't played in those conditions yet."

McGowan replaced Dickey with one out in the ninth after third baseman Josh Donaldson walked and first baseman Brandon Moss singled.

Cespedes singled to load the bases and left-hander Brett Cecil replaced McGowan. Pinch hitter Jed Lowrie hit a sacrifice fly to center, but second baseman Alberto Callaspo struck out to give Cecil his third save of the season.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said Dickey's outing helped give the bullpen a break.

"It was big," Gibbons said. "He was dealing, he was strong, he was very efficient. That particular pitch he throws, when it's on, it's tough to do anything with it. You can usually tell early on when he's got his good one going for him."

Added Dickey: "You're always conscious of where you are in the game. You want to hand the ball off when you're in the eighth inning; that's what I want to do.

"So, sure I've thought about it, but it hadn't taken over my subconscious to the point where I felt like it was crippling me in any way, and I feel like I've been this close for a little while."

Cespedes gave the Athletics a 1-0 lead with his eighth home run of the season in the second to end a streak of eight consecutive games in which the Blue Jays had scored first. They were 7-1 in those games.

The Blue Jays tied the game in the third when Gose scored from first on an error by Gentry on a single by Toronto left fielder Melky Cabrera.

"I just came in too hard," Gentry said. "I should have been a little more under control."

Lawrie led off the three-run fifth with his eighth home run of the season.

"I was trying to get it in the dirt but he kind of got it before it got there," Chavez said. "Just a good piece of hitting."

The Blue Jays had runners at second and third after one-out singles by Gose and Reyes, plus a wild pitch. Both runners scored on an error by Moss on Cabrera's grounder to give Toronto a 4-1 lead.

The Blue Jays took a 5-1 lead in the seventh on a leadoff double by Reyes against right-hander Fernando Rodriguez. Reyes scored from second on Cabrera's groundout to shortstop, sliding home to beat the throw from Moss.

"You know the old saying, that speed never goes in slumps," Gibbons said. "It can make things happen. Reyes has been in the game for a long time and he's always done that. Gose is trying to make a name for himself and that's what he does."

NOTES: Athletics C John Jaso (back) did not play Saturday and said he hopes to be ready for Monday's game in Oakland against Detroit. ... INF Nick Punto (left calf) and INF Jed Lowrie (neck) also did not start for Oakland on Saturday, although Lowrie came on as a pinch hitter in the ninth. ... A's manager Bob Melvin was back at the helm after missing Friday's game to attend his daughter's college graduation. Bench coach Chip Hale ran the team in his absence. ... Blue Jays LHP Mark Buehrle and RHP R.A. Dickey are the two fastest working pitchers in the majors at 16.4 seconds and 18.3, respectively, between pitches. ... RHP Esmil Rogers, who was designated for assignment by Toronto, has been assigned outright to Triple-A Buffalo. ... The roof at Rogers Centre was open for the first time this season. ... Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (3-1, 4.37 ERA) will face A's LHP Drew Pomeranz (4-1, 0.94 ERA) in Sunday's series finale.
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