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SF@TOR: Dickey strikes out 10 over six strong innings

TORONTO -- Talk about sticking it to your old team.

Not only did Melky Cabrera have his best night as a member of the Blue Jays, he did it using his old Giants bat.

Cabrera reached base in every at-bat, going 4-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs, while R.A. Dickey pitched like an ace as the Blue Jays defeated the Giants, 10-6, Tuesday at Rogers Centre.

"Tonight was a good game for me, a good game for the club," said Cabrera through translator Luis Rivera, adding that he received a few Giants bats from last season Monday and put them to good use against his former team.

The 28-year-old outfielder has seen a recent surge at the plate and is batting .352 in the month of May, raising his average 37 points after a slow April.

"He's been on a nice little roll lately, he really has," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He's always been a good hitter. Early on, he struggled just like everybody else; now he's starting to feel it a little bit."

"He's a good hitter. I haven't been here, [so] I'm not going to be surprised by anything. We know he's a good hitter; we saw what he did for us last year," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who presented the outfielder with his 2012 World Series ring in private before Tuesday's contest. "He had some good at-bats today. We made a lot of mistakes today, which is not indicative of us. But he got some good pitches to hit and he took advantage of it."

Cabrera's big night began with two at-bats in the first and was the start of a six-run inning that got things going offensively.

The Dominican Republic native reached base on an error by third baseman Pablo Sandoval to start the bottom half of the first. The next four batters subsequently reached base, including singles by Edwin Encarnacion and Mark DeRosa that gave the Blue Jays a 3-0 cushion.

Singles by Colby Rasmus and Emilio Bonifacio made it 5-0. Then Cabrera came up for his second at-bat of the inning and stroked a single into left field, scoring Rasmus and putting the finishing touches on the frame.

In total, the Blue Jays sent 11 batters to the plate against Giants left-hander Barry Zito.

"The offensive output was great," said Dickey. "It's great to see a lot of guys get involved. It was a real community win tonight. It can be fun when that happens."

While the offense raked, Dickey was quietly taking care of business on the Rogers Centre mound. Dickey, who's struggled with his command this season, had his swing-and-miss stuff all evening. He had 10 strikeouts in his six innings and held the Giants to two runs on six hits and two walks.

"I felt like I grew into the outing," said Dickey, who reached double digits in strikeouts for the first time this season, while recording his team-leading sixth quality start. "Early on, I was feeling for it a little bit. As I got into the later innings, the fourth, the fifth, the sixth, I felt a lot better with it and felt like I had a pretty good knuckleball today. I was getting a lot of swings and misses. I was in the strike zone for the most part outside of those two walks. Was pretty pleased."

The only damage off Dickey came in the second from a Nick Noonan single that scored Hunter Pence and a deep home run by Brandon Belt in the fourth that went off the facing of the second deck in right field.

"Early on, that knuckleball was alive," Gibbons said. "He took advantage of the fact that we gave him some cushion there, and he got some big strikeouts late in the game."

His mound opponent wasn't nearly as effective. Zito struggled mightily in the first inning, and the final line score wasn't pretty.

Despite calming down through the fifth inning, facing only two batters over the minimum, things blew up again for the veteran left-hander in the sixth.

Cabrera and Jose Bautista singled to chase him from the game. Then reliever George Kontos allowed both inherited runners to score.

First, it was Encarnacion doubling over the head of Hunter Pence in right field to make it 7-2. Then Adam Lind singled off the foot of Kontos, allowing Bautista to score to widen the lead

In total, the lefty gave up 12 hits, two walks and eight runs (five earned) while striking out two. It was an uncharacteristic start for the veteran, who had allowed only three earned runs in his previous four outings.

"Give Z credit, he settled down and gave us some length in the game, which helps out the first game of your road trip," Bochy said. "He regrouped and threw the ball well after that."

A lot of the damage on this night came from the Blue Jays' 1-2-3 hitters of Cabrera, Bautista and Encarnacion. Combined, the trio went 8-for-12 with six runs, four RBIs and three walks.

The three boppers in the middle of the Toronto lineup were each moved up a slot in the order Saturday, and things have been working smoothly since then. The Blue Jays are 3-0 with them atop the batting order and have scored 25 runs in those three games.

"That's what we're capable of," said Gibbons. "We got some guys that can hit, that's for sure. We've been waiting on that. ... We hadn't had many games in a row where we've broken loose like that, but it's in there and we're starting to see it."

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