TORONTO (AP) — A big win over the Boston Red Sox brought out a sense of national pride in the Toronto Blue Jays.
Not north of the border in Canada, but down south in the Dominican Republic. Melky Cabrera, one of a record six players from the Dominican in Toronto's starting lineup, hit a go-ahead double and the Blue Jays ended a season-worst four-game losing streak, beating the Red Sox 7-1 Sunday.
Shortstop Jose Reyes said he was proud to be part of the milestone moment for the baseball-mad country. "No doubt," Reyes said. "It's good to share the same field with the people you know from back home. It's a good feeling."
The first four hitters in Toronto's lineup were all from the Dominican Republic: Reyes, outfielders Cabrera and Jose Bautista and first baseman Edwin Encarnacion. Juan Francisco served as the designated hitter, batting sixth, and outfielder Moises Sierra batted seventh.
Esmil Rogers, the seventh Dominican player on Toronto's 25-man roster, struck out the side in the ninth. In Toronto's clubhouse following the game, Bautista and Rogers were using their phones to snap photos of the lineup card, which the Dominican players had autographed. Bautista said he intended to have it framed and sent to a museum in his homeland.
Manager John Gibbons, who penned the historic lineup, joked that it might get him some extra recognition. "It might get me a job in winter ball," he laughed. What meant more to Gibbons was snapping Toronto's recent slump.
"It was a much-needed win, I will definitely say." R.A. Dickey (2-3) won for the first time in four starts. Jon Lester (2-4) allowed four runs and five hits in seven innings. He walked none, struck out seven and threw a season-high 122 pitches.
"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." Brett Lawrie homered, doubled and drove in two runs as the Blue Jays avoided their first sweep against Boston since June 2011.
Cabrera went 2 for 4 and leads the majors with 39 hits. His double in the third put Toronto ahead to stay at 2-1. Encarnacion doubled twice and drove in two runs. Bautista had a hit and RBI, and has reached base safely in all 25 games this season.
On the day the Blue Jays handed out bobblehead dolls in his likeness, Dickey allowed one run and five hits in 6 1-3 innings. He walked none, struck out five and won for the first time since April 5 against the New York Yankees.
"Obviously I planned it that way," Dickey deadpanned. "I wish we could have bobblehead day every day I pitch now." Dickey retired the first five batters before the Red Sox scratched out a run with three straight singles with two outs in the second. Jonny Gomes scored when Jackie Bradley Jr.'s looper dropped in front of Cabrera in left.
Lawrie tied it in the bottom half with his home run. Dickey retired 10 straight before hitting Will Middlebrooks to begin the seventh. Xander Bogaerts chased Dickey with a one-out double, but reliever Steve Delabar got Bradley to foul out and David Ross to fly out, preserving a 2-1 lead.
The Blue Jays added two insurance runs off Lester in the bottom half. Encarnacion hit a leadoff double and scored when Lawrie doubled off the glove of Middlebrooks at third. Lawrie moved to third on a fly ball and scored on Sierra's grounder.
Toronto padded its lead with three runs off Andrew Miller in the eighth. Bautista hit an RBI single and Encarnacion followed with a two-run double. NOTES: Toronto had five Dominican players in the starting lineup Saturday. Last season, the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers also had lineups with five players from the Dominican Republic, which won the World Baseball Classic in March 2013. ... Boston DH David Ortiz and OF Shane Victorino got the day off. Victorino had played three straight days since being activated off the DL before Thursday's game.