TORONTO -- R.A. Dickey, his knuckleball moving like the noggin on his bobblehead giveaway, gave the Toronto Blue Jays a sorely needed quality start Sunday. And the rest of the team also stepped up, with Brett Lawrie and Edwin Encarnacion combining to drive in four runs in a 7-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox. Toronto (12-13) leaves for an eight-game road trip, which starts Tuesday in Kansas City, having washed away the taste of a sour four-game losing streak at home. The Jays, who had given up 36 runs on 47 hits and 22 walks during the four-game slide, badly needed a change of direction. Dickey said a talk by manager John Gibbons after Saturdays 7-6 loss, when a Jays comeback fell just short, had done the trick. "He was just so encouraging," said Dickey, who got the win on his first major-league bobblehead giveaway day. "I think everybody left the clubhouse feeling at ease about who we are as a team. So we just needed to come out today and be ourselves. And we were able to do that. "We fought hard. Guys were getting dirty, diving for balls, taking the extra base. I was able to throw strikes and we had a great team win today." Said Gibbons: "It was a much-needed win, I will definitely say." On a weekend where racism in sports made headlines thanks to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, the Jays made Major League Baseball history with a record six Dominicans in the starting lineup: Encarnacion, Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista, Juan Francisco and Moises Sierra. The Dominicans signed the lineup card, which Bautista said was going to be sent to the Dominican Museum of Baseball. "It was an honour to be part of that today," said Reyes. An announced sellout of 45,260 at the Rogers Centre saw Dickey outduel Jon Lester with Lawrie providing the early offence before the Jays put the game away with two runs in the seventh and three in the eighth. Lawrie, who entered the game hitting .165 but leading the team in RBIs, drove in two runs with a homer and double to increase his RBI total to 20. Dickey (2-3) scattered five hits over 6 1/3 innings, giving up one run and striking out six. Walks have been a thorn in the Jays side. Toronto pitchers had issued 108 free passes going into play Sunday -- second-worst in the majors -- with Dickey tied for the MLB lead with 18. But Dickey was in control Sunday. He threw 95 pitches, including 62 strikes, and didnt issue a walk for the first time since October 2012. "When I have one to zero to two walks, its usually going to be a pretty good day," he said. "And thats what I have to get back to and today was a step in that direction." Relievers Steve Delabar and Esmil Rogers closed out the game for Toronto, which outhit Boston 9-6. Lester (2-4) deserved better from his seven innings. He gave up four runs on five hits, striking out seven and walking none. He threw 120 pitches, 80 for strikes, as Boston (12-14) was denied its first sweep of Toronto since June 10-12, 2011. The Boston left-hander came into the game with a 15-7 career mark against Toronto, having held the Jays to a .199 batting average. It was the first win for Dickey since April 5 and came after three starts in which he went 0-2 with 13 walks in 13 1/3 innings. He used his fastball more than usual, knowing that Boston led the league in pitches seen. "So I knew they were probably going to be patient. And nothings worse than seeing a fastball down the middle from a knuckleball pitcher and letting it go," he added. Some observers thought Dickey seemed irked at being pulled in the seventh inning. The pitcher, who has faded in some previous starts, said hes just "passionate" about what he does. He acknowledged he had told both Gibbons and pitching coach Pete Walker to keep a close eye on him in case he did falter. After the Jays went ahead 2-1 in the third, Dickey and Lester took turns mowing down the opposition. It took some time but Toronto bats finally came alive, welcome news for Dickey who had only got five runs in support before leaving in his five previous starts. Toronto increased its lead to 4-1 in the seventh on back-to-back doubles by Encarnacion and Lawrie and an RBI groundout by Sierra. Lester had retired 10 straight prior to the inning. Reyes scored on an RBI single by Bautista -- who extended his on-base streak to 25 games -- in the eighth before Encarnacion drove in two more with another double. Dickey retired his first five hitters before giving up a run on three straight singles with the RBI going to Jackie Bradley Jr. Lawrie tied it up with one swing of the bat in the bottom of the second, depositing a 3-2 Lester delivery into left-centre for his sixth homer. Lawrie has just 17 hits this season but seven have been for extra-base hits. Toronto went ahead 2-1 in the third on Cabreras two-out RBI double, sending Josh Thole home. Thole, Dickeys personal catcher, singled down the left-field line and then advanced on Jonathan Diazs sacrifice bunt. Cabrera, who came into the game leading the majors in hits, now has 39 including 13 of the extra-base variety. Dickey was slated to head home after the game, with a couple of bobbleheads under his arm for his kids. "Theyre not going to be collectors at my house," he said. "The heads are going to be popped off by the end of the day." Willis Reed Jersey
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. Winners of two straight, the Flames will try to become the first team in 25 years to go three consecutive games without taking a penalty Saturday night in San Jose.Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry wants to answer your emails at firstname.lastname@example.org
! Hi Kerry, I was wondering what influence, if any, the home team fans can have on the on-ice officials? If a referee misses or blows a call, but its not missed by the other 18,000 refs in the arena and lets the referee know about it by booing and such, does that impact any future calls or how the game is further officiated? Does the name calling and heckling by the fans get under your skin or just fall on deaf ears? Always looking forward to your column, Stephen Lee Stephen, In theory the objective of every sports official is to remain focused and in the moment, regardless of mistakes that have been made. Dwelling on a missed/wrong call or to be intimidated by the fallout from players, coaches and of course, the fans is a recipe for a ref to compromise his integrity and/or commit further errors. It is best to keep all mental thoughts in perpetual motion to allow your brain to function in the moment. A missed opportunity is one youll never get back. A makeup call diminishes any credibility and respect that every official works so hard to achieve. In practice however, we must recognize that refs arent mechanical robots but human beings with feelings, emotions and individualized character traits. These traits are developed over a lifetime but especially during the early formative years. Positive and negative elements of an individuals personal makeup and self-worth are brought into the arena every game and will often dictate how an official responds in stressful situations. One of the most basic human instincts is a desire to be loved; okay maybe way over the top here but how about a need to be liked, appreciated and accepted? If we can agree on that premise then, now place yourself as a referee in front of 20,000 out-of-control hockey fans chanting in unison "Ref, You SUCK," throwing debris at you and threatening your personal safety. How would that make you feel? More importantly, how would you respond? Would you have the courage and personal strength to stand tall in the face of adversity or would you give in to the pressure and alter your judgment in their favor? The flip side is, if you possessed a combative nature, stubbornness and/or arrogance as dominant traits, you just might stick it to someone! What Im really saying here is that the response and action taken by an official when hes pushed to the wall results from his unique internal makeup. All referees will rely on their strengths (skating, judgment, positioning, communication skills etc.) but I found it was most important to recognize my personal deficiencies and keep them in check. I never lacked courage but I recognized very early in my career that positive trait could quickly erode to a stubborn Ill show you attitude that was very counterproductive once my authority was challenged. I have observed a potential infraction and, as the information was being sifted through my brain, the crowd reaction beat my switch to pull the trigger, giving the impression that the crowd made the call.dddddddddddd We have all witnessed situations (or been involved in them) when the ref has been jolted to a better sense of awareness as a result of the crowd reaction. Whenever the ref raises his arm, the call should be scrutinized based on its merit and not through the reaction time it took for the referee to make it. I saw old-school referee Wally Harris (excellent ref and great guy) call an infraction that happened behind his back when he caught the reflection of the play in the glass. It was a legitimate infraction but unorthodox in Wallys detection method. Nothing ever phased Wally. A game was held up for over 20 minutes in the Boston Garden to clear debris from the ice that was thrown at this courageous ref. While I experience many emotionally charged moments from fan vitriol, allow me to share one unusual incident. It resulted from ejecting Blackhawks coach Orval Tessier from a game in the Chicago Stadium just prior to him being terminated and replaced by Bob Pulford Feb. 4, 1984. Tessier was feeling intense pressure with speculation of his imminent termination. His players were still smarting from the coachs public suggestion they required heart transplants from the Mayo Clinic. The comment backfired and their ongoing play reflected a seeming lack of interest. When Mt. Orval erupted to incur the game ejection, Hawk fans (21,000 strong) started throwing everything that wasnt nailed down. I was their intended target and the ice became a sea of debris. A chair even flew over the glass from the high-priced seats. I took safe refuge underneath the big clock above centre ice. Coach Tessier walked across the ice to make his way to the Hawks dressing room and slipped as he kicked at a popcorn box in his path. My mouth was dry as sawdust and the blood felt like it had drained from my entire body, causing numbness in my extremities as shock and awe rained down from the rafters in the Madhouse on Madison. My emotions were raw. I felt vulnerable and alone as Hawk fans did their very best to inflict some form of retribution against me. Moral support then came to me from the most unusual of places. Captain Doug Wilson and alternate captain Bob Murray skated up to me. I was expecting additional protests to be lodged against me by the two captains. Instead, they thanked me for ejecting their coach and expressed a wish that I had done so earlier in the game! I thank them sincerely for the support they provided but suggested they should move away since the three of us made a bigger target and I feared for their personal safety. When the fans had nothing left to throw, the rink attendants filled wheelbarrows with the trash and the game resumed without further incident. Buoyed in part with the support I had received from the Hawks captains, in addition to my personal character traits, I weathered the storm. I did not allow the fans to dictate what I called moving forward in that game. After all, they had nothing left to throw at me! Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys
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