Blue Jays-Indians Preview

The Associated Press

A first-time All-Star last season, R.A. Dickey won't be heading to New York largely because of an inconsistent season that began with a loss to the Cleveland Indians.

The Toronto Blue Jays right-hander, though, has an opportunity to come up with a better performance against the Indians on Thursday going into the break.

Dickey (8-9, 4.77 ERA) went 12-1 before the break for the New York Mets in 2012 en route to a career-high 20 wins and the NL Cy Young Award. His first season in Toronto hasn't been nearly as charmed, causing him to miss a return to Citi Field for the Midsummer Classic.

Indicative of Dickey's up-and-down year, he gave up six runs over seven innings of a 6-0 loss to Minnesota on Saturday after winning both of his previous outings with a 1.13 ERA.

He was pitching well against the Twins until giving up a three-run homer in the seventh - the third three-run shot he's allowed in his last six starts.

"I gave up another three-run home run, which has kind of been my bane this year," said Dickey, who yielded only one such homer in 33 starts in 2012. "That's not ordinary for me."

Dickey allowed a two-run homer to Asdrubal Cabrera in a 4-1 defeat to Cleveland on April 2. He yielded four runs and four walks in six innings of that opening day start after going 2-0 with a 2.75 ERA in his three prior starts against the Indians.

The Blue Jays (44-46) were on their way to being shut out for the third time in four games Wednesday before scoring five times in the final three innings of a 5-4 victory. Emilio Bonifacio and Munenori Kawasaki each singled in a pair of runs.

Kawasaki's hit ended an 0-for-18 slump, and Bonifacio's was only his fourth in the last 22 at-bats.

"Great ballgame, it really was," manager John Gibbons said. "The guys battle, like they always do."

The win was just the sixth in 16 games for Toronto, while Cleveland (47-44) suffered its sixth defeat in eight contests. The Indians have a 5.58 ERA during that stretch, with their bullpen posting a 6.35 mark.

"We battled back at the end. If I could have given up one run, we would have won the game," said reliever Joe Smith, who allowed Kawasaki's tiebreaking single in the ninth inning.

Danny Salazar will make his first major league start for Cleveland on Thursday. The 23-year-old right-hander had 49 strikeouts and 13 walks in his 42 2-3 innings at Triple-A Columbus, going 3-2 with a 3.40 ERA.

"This is just another step for him - and a big one - and hopefully he helps us get a win," manager Terry Francona told the team's official website.

Center fielder Michael Bourn, who had three hits Wednesday after a 2-for-20 slump, has five in his last 10 at-bats against Dickey.

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