TORONTO — NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey and the overhauled Toronto Blue Jays struggled in their opener and lost to Asdrubal Cabrera, Justin Masterson, and the Cleveland Indians 4-1 Tuesday night.
Cabrera hit a two-run homer off Dickey, Masterson pitched six innings, and the Indians ended their streak of opening-day losses at four.
Cleveland won its opener for the first time since beating the Chicago White Sox in 2008. The Indians had dropped eight of their last 10 openers.
Excited by the winter acquisitions of Dickey, Jose Reyes, and other All-Stars, fans in Toronto were eager to see the revamped roster in action.
Instead, a disappointed sellout crowd of 48,857 saw Masterson and three relievers combine to hold Toronto to just one hit after newcomer Melky Cabrera’s leadoff single in the third, a two-out double in the ninth by catcher J.P. Arencibia. Colby Rasmus followed by striking out to end the game.
Masterson (1-0) allowed one run and three hits in six innings, ending his night by retiring 11 straight batters. The right-hander walked four and struck out five.
Joe Smith worked the seventh, Vinnie Pestano pitched the eighth, and Chris Perez finished for Cleveland, earning his first save.
On opening day last year, Perez allowed three runs in the ninth against Toronto as the Blue Jays rallied to force extra innings, winning it in the 16th on a three-run homer by Arencibia.
Dickey (0-1) allowed four runs, three of them earned, and five hits in six innings. The knuckleballer walked four and struck out four.
Dickey’s four walks were his most since May 6, 2012, when he walked four against Arizona. In 33 starts last season for the New York Mets, he issued more than three walks just twice — he was traded to Toronto in the offseason.
It was a rough night for Arencibia, who was charged with three passed balls in the first two innings. His two passed balls in the second helped Cleveland score the first two runs of the game.
Michael Brantley singled and went to second on a passed ball before Mark Reynolds drew a one out walk before a second passed ball put runners at second and third. Lonnie Chisenhall hit an RBI grounder and Drew Stubbs followed with an RBI single.
That prompted Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo, the subject of trade rumors linking him with the Maple Leafs and other teams, to tweet about Arencibia’s troubles, saying, “Maybe the Blue Jays need a goalie to catch RA Dickey? Just sayin.......”
Toronto loaded the bases with none out in the third but could only push across one run, with Cabrera scoring on Adam Lind’s double play grounder.
Cleveland replied in the fifth when Michael Bourn led off with a single and Cabrera homered into the right field bullpen.
The Indians put runners at second and third with one out in the eighth, but Sergio Santos struck out Mark Reynolds and Chisenhall to end the threat.
NOTES: Cleveland LHP Scott Kazmir has a sore abdominal muscle and might miss his first scheduled start, this Saturday at Tampa Bay. The Indians selected Kazmir for the 25-man roster and optioned left-hander Nick Hagadone to Triple-A Columbus. ... Kazmir felt sore after playing catch on flat ground during a team workout Monday. Manager Terry Francona said Kazmir will be re-evaluated after he tries to throw a bullpen session today. Kazmir hasn’t pitched in the major leagues in almost two years. A two-time All-Star with Tampa Bay, he was released by the Angels in 2011 and pitched last season in independent ball. ... Cleveland also outrighted LHP David Huff to Columbus and had OF Ezequiel Carrera claimed off waivers by Philadelphia. ... Singer Geddy Lee of the rock group Rush threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Former Blue Jays Joe Carter and Duane Ward attended the game.