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In knuckleball duel, Wright flawless vs. Dickey


DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Red Sox roughed up Blue Jays ace R.A. Dickey for two runs over two innings en route to a 4-2 victory on Monday afternoon at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.

The game featured a rare matchup of knuckleballers, with Dickey on the hill for the Blue Jays and Minor Leaguer Steven Wright getting the call for Boston.

It marked Dickey's first appearance in a Blue Jays uniform since being acquired in a December trade with the Mets. His afternoon got off to a rough start, as a pair of seeing-eye singles put two on and nobody out in the first.

Boston's Jarrod Saltalamacchia then came through two batters later with an RBI single to right field. The second run came around to score when a Dickey knuckleball bounced away from catcher J.P. Arencibia, which allowed Jackie Bradley Jr. to trot in from third.

Dickey came back out for the second and allowed another leadoff single, but he was eventually aided by an inning-ending double play, which was turned by Jose Reyes and Lance Zawadzki. Dickey was charged with both runs on four hits and one walk while throwing 24 of his 34 pitches for strikes.

Wright was relatively flawless and likely made a strong impression on Tim Wakefield, who was in attendance for the game and will be traveling to Fort Myers on Tuesday to begin a working relationship.

"I was a little nervous," Wright said. "I was not scared, just a little nervous, because you want to do your best in general but to have guys with a keen eye for the knuckleball. ... Once I got out there, I felt pretty good."

The 28-year-old Wright allowed just two hits while striking out three over two innings of work. He threw 25 of his 40 pitches for strikes and allowed just one batter to reach scoring position.

Left fielder Melky Cabrera led the way on offense for Toronto. He went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles while driving home Reyes in the third with a liner down the left-field line. Edwin Encarnacion got into the action in the sixth with a solo homer of J.P. Durbin on a 3-1 count. It was his first home run of the spring.

Up next for the Red Sox: Free-agent acquisition Ryan Dempster will make his first start in a Boston uniform in Tuesday's 1:35 p.m. ET home game against the Cardinals. Several bullpen mainstays will follow Dempster in that game, including Junichi Tazawa, Joel Hanrahan, Andrew Bailey and Andrew Miller.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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