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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

{allcanada} Jays back Dickey's 4-hitter vs. Tribe

 

TORONTO - Even in an MVP-calibre season, Josh Donaldson finds new ways to impress.

The Toronto third baseman drove in a run in the first inning and two in the second, upping his MLB-leading RBI total to 111 in the Blue Jays' 5-1 win over the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday. He also showed off his hustle and athleticism, diving though the air to evade catcher Yan Gomes' tag and score on a shallow sacrifice fly ball by Troy Tulowitzki in the second.

"It's gotten to the point where nothing this guy does surprises you any more. I mean he's a super-hero, really," said Jays starter R.A. Dickey, who threw a complete-game four-hitter. "He is in a special place right now."

"He's on a mission," echoed Toronto manager John Gibbons.

Donaldson played down his second-inning heroics, saying he just saw the opportunity with second baseman Jason Kipnis back-peddling to get to the ball.

"So I took it," he said.

With the sellout crowd chanting M-V-P, Donaldson singled, doubled and doubled before Cleveland finally induced him to ground out in the seventh inning. And Donaldson made that play close at the bag.

In the third, he challenged Indians left-fielder Michael Brantley and won, turning a single into a double.

It was Donaldson's 48th multi-hit game and 14th three-hit game this season. His RBI total is the most by a Blue Jay since Jose Bautista's 124 in 2010.

The surging Jays (76-57) have won 10 of their last 12 and are 31-11 since the all-star break. They are 33-13 in their last 46 home games.

Still, the New York Yankees defeated Boston 13-8 earlier in the day to remain 1.5 games back of the Jays in the American League East.

Dickey (10-10) retired the Indians in order in seven of his nine innings, dispatching 14 straight batters at one point for his 99th career win and 15th complete game.

"Dickey was so good. ...He just threw a lot of strikes," said Cleveland manager Terry Francona. "First time through you saw him show the fastball and then go to the knuckleball. Once he got it rolling, man, for a ball to move that much and for him to command it that well, it was really impressive."

Toronto continued its onslaught on opposition pitching, leading 5-0 after two innings with the Rogers Centre roof open on a sticky September night before 46,538 — the 15th sellout of the season. Cleveland was certainly sweating, using four pitchers in the first four innings.

Dickey, meanwhile, shut the door on Cleveland as the Indians (64-68) lost their second straight after a six-game win streak. The 40-year-old knuckleballer retired Cleveland's first nine batters.

Dickey is the first Toronto pitcher to go 7-0 after the all-star break since Roger Clemens in 1998.

"I'll tell you what's worked is the bats have exploded when I pitch," Dickey said with a chuckle. "And that's always nice, to pitch with a lead.

"It's such a gift to get to come and watch these guys play. It really is — to watch Donaldson and Bautista and Tulo (Tulowitzki). Everybody is playing a part and it's really a rare gift to get to come to the park and see these guys perform."

Tulowitzki drove in Toronto's other two runs.

Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion, who had his 26-game hitting streak snapped Tuesday, had a walk in four at-bats to extend his on-base streak to 33 games

Toronto showed its teeth early, scoring twice in a first inning that required 30 pitches from Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer (10-11). In contrast, Dickey needed just 31 pitches in his first three innings.

Bauer, a 24-year-old right-hander, gave up four runs on six hits and a walk in 1 1/3 innings in a miserable Rogers Centre debut.

There was good news for the Jays elsewhere as Marcus Stroman, in his first rehab start since undergoing knee surgery in March, struck out seven and walked one in 4 2/3 no-hit innings for the Class-A Lansing Lugnuts against the Great Lakes Loons.

Toronto has an off day Thursday before hosting the Baltimore Orioles on Friday.

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{allcanada} Devin Setoguchi: ‘My word has not meant much’

 

Devin Setoguchi believes he is down to his final chance to play the game he loves.

"One last crack," as he puts it.

The Calgary Flames gave the Alberta native his second-last crack this time a year ago on a one-year deal, and he blew it after failing to live up to a promise to stay sober for the entire season.

"That lasted all of a couple of weeks," Setoguchi told host Andrew Walker Thursday on Sportsnet 360. "When you're a young kid making $3.5 million coming from not much, things can get out of hand quickly.

"I ended up going to rehab in April."

Recently clean and even more recently married, Setoguchi accepted a professional tryout offer with the rebuilding Toronto Maple Leafs.

"The amount of times I've let people down, there weren't a lot of takers on me," he admitted. Cockiness led to poor decisions which led to denial. "Around the league my word has not really meant much.

"I had gotten to the point where I had diminished any merit I had in the league."

At 28, Setoguchi is eight seasons removed from the 31-goal, 65-point pinnacle he reached with the San Jose Sharks, under then head coach Todd McLellan.

McLellan, who learned under the wing of Leafs coach Mike Babcock, created a tight, structured dressing room — the type of atmosphere Setoguchi says will suit him.

Humbled by his decline (he failed to register a point in 12 games with Calgary), Setoguchi admitted he had clung to a "crappy," blame-everyone-else attitude and he put on too much weight.

Re-focused, the winger said he is now under 200 pounds for the first time in nine years. He's grateful GM Lou Lamoriello, whom he spoke to last summer as well, and the Leafs are giving him an opportunity.

"I still got a lot of work to do, and it starts with this camp," Setoguchi said. "It's not going to be easy. It's going to be tough.

"All the odds are stacked against me."

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{allcanada} Jays back Dickey's 4-hitter vs. Tribe

 

TORONTO - Even in an MVP-calibre season, Josh Donaldson finds new ways to impress.

The Toronto third baseman drove in a run in the first inning and two in the second, upping his MLB-leading RBI total to 111 in the Blue Jays' 5-1 win over the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday. He also showed off his hustle and athleticism, diving though the air to evade catcher Yan Gomes' tag and score on a shallow sacrifice fly ball by Troy Tulowitzki in the second.

"It's gotten to the point where nothing this guy does surprises you any more. I mean he's a super-hero, really," said Jays starter R.A. Dickey, who threw a complete-game four-hitter. "He is in a special place right now."

"He's on a mission," echoed Toronto manager John Gibbons.

Donaldson played down his second-inning heroics, saying he just saw the opportunity with second baseman Jason Kipnis back-peddling to get to the ball.

"So I took it," he said.

With the sellout crowd chanting M-V-P, Donaldson singled, doubled and doubled before Cleveland finally induced him to ground out in the seventh inning. And Donaldson made that play close at the bag.

In the third, he challenged Indians left-fielder Michael Brantley and won, turning a single into a double.

It was Donaldson's 48th multi-hit game and 14th three-hit game this season. His RBI total is the most by a Blue Jay since Jose Bautista's 124 in 2010.

The surging Jays (76-57) have won 10 of their last 12 and are 31-11 since the all-star break. They are 33-13 in their last 46 home games.

Still, the New York Yankees defeated Boston 13-8 earlier in the day to remain 1.5 games back of the Jays in the American League East.

Dickey (10-10) retired the Indians in order in seven of his nine innings, dispatching 14 straight batters at one point for his 99th career win and 15th complete game.

"Dickey was so good. ...He just threw a lot of strikes," said Cleveland manager Terry Francona. "First time through you saw him show the fastball and then go to the knuckleball. Once he got it rolling, man, for a ball to move that much and for him to command it that well, it was really impressive."

Toronto continued its onslaught on opposition pitching, leading 5-0 after two innings with the Rogers Centre roof open on a sticky September night before 46,538 — the 15th sellout of the season. Cleveland was certainly sweating, using four pitchers in the first four innings.

Dickey, meanwhile, shut the door on Cleveland as the Indians (64-68) lost their second straight after a six-game win streak. The 40-year-old knuckleballer retired Cleveland's first nine batters.

Dickey is the first Toronto pitcher to go 7-0 after the all-star break since Roger Clemens in 1998.

"I'll tell you what's worked is the bats have exploded when I pitch," Dickey said with a chuckle. "And that's always nice, to pitch with a lead.

"It's such a gift to get to come and watch these guys play. It really is — to watch Donaldson and Bautista and Tulo (Tulowitzki). Everybody is playing a part and it's really a rare gift to get to come to the park and see these guys perform."

Tulowitzki drove in Toronto's other two runs.

Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion, who had his 26-game hitting streak snapped Tuesday, had a walk in four at-bats to extend his on-base streak to 33 games

Toronto showed its teeth early, scoring twice in a first inning that required 30 pitches from Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer (10-11). In contrast, Dickey needed just 31 pitches in his first three innings.

Bauer, a 24-year-old right-hander, gave up four runs on six hits and a walk in 1 1/3 innings in a miserable Rogers Centre debut.

There was good news for the Jays elsewhere as Marcus Stroman, in his first rehab start since undergoing knee surgery in March, struck out seven and walked one in 4 2/3 no-hit innings for the Class-A Lansing Lugnuts against the Great Lakes Loons.

Toronto has an off day Thursday before hosting the Baltimore Orioles on Friday.

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{allcanada} World champions Duhamel, Radford add new move

 

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Canada's world pairs champions don't plan on giving up any ground to the rest of the field.

So when Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford got wind that other pairs skaters were trying to perfect the quad throw Salchow, a difficult element that helped the Canadians clinch the world title, they decided to add another one.

Duhamel and Radford will debut a quad throw Lutz this season, making for what should be the most technically difficult pairs free program in history.

"We've upped our ante this season and added a new trick, just to make sure we stay ahead of the pack," Duhamel said Wednesday, at the Canadian team's annual high performance camp at the Hershey Centre.

"We said 'OK, let's learn another throw quad just to make sure we stay ahead of the game,' and kind of keep ourselves, as much as we can be, untouchable in some way."

Duhamel, from Lively, Ont., and Radford, from Balmertown, Ont., won the world pairs title last winter in Shanghai, scoring huge marks for their quad throw Salchow — a manoeuvre that has Radford throw Duhamel for four revolutions through the air.

Their free program for the upcoming season now has a jam-packed segment that includes — in succession — side-by-side triple Lutzes, the throw quad Salchow, then the throw quad Lutz.

"That's a really big minute-and-a-half of pairs figure skating history," Duhamel said.

Duhamel and Radford worked up to the quad throw Lutz over the summer, and finally attempted it while on a "Stars on Ice" tour stop in Calgary. They posted their successful landing — you can hear the applause from onlookers, and a squeal of delight from Duhamel — on their Facebook page.

"We figured it would be easier than learning the first (quad throw), because now I already knew how to rotate four times, that was the biggest challenge," said Duhamel.

"We said 'You know what, we should just try it.' I felt good, I felt ready, and the second day we tried it, we landed it, and were like 'Oh wow. There it is."'

The two are coming off a busy summer that saw them tour Canada, perform in Los Angeles, and travel twice to Asia for shows. In between, they choreographed new short and long programs for the upcoming season, and Duhamel got married — a destination wedding in Bermuda.

They head into this season as the pairs team to beat, but vow they won't let it change their approach to competition.

"We understand that if we go out and have a good skate for ourselves, that will always put us in the range of definitely top three in the world, and hopefully definitely world champions again," Radford said. "It's just us against ourselves out there, and we learned from the year before during the Olympic year, that if we concentrate on everybody else, it doesn't work for us."

Duhamel and Radford open the Grand Prix season at Skate Canada International next month in Lethbridge, Alta.

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