TORONTO — The Tampa Bay Rays picked a bad time for their worst defensive performance of the season.
R.A. Dickey slowed Tampa Bay’s stretch run, leading the Toronto Blue Jays to a 6-3 victory Friday night that stopped the Rays’ seven-game winning streak.
‘‘One of those games,’’ Rays manager Joe Maddon said. ‘‘We’ve been on a pretty good run. Go get a good night’s sleep and come back tomorrow.’’
Tampa Bay dropped into a tie with Cleveland for the two AL wild cards, one game ahead of Texas. The Rays’ magic number for clinching remained at two over Texas.
‘‘We really still are in the driver’s seat,’’ Evan Longoria said. ‘‘It’s not like we’re playing catchup at this point.’’
It was an ugly night for the Rays, who wasted a 2-0 lead and committed a season-high three errors, including a pair by Longoria, the two-time Gold Glove third baseman.
‘‘I had an uncharacteristically sloppy game,’’ Longoria said. ‘‘Unfortunately, they came back to bite us today.’’
Dickey (14-13) allowed two runs and five hits in 7⅓ innings, retiring 13 of 14 during one stretch. The 38-year-old knuckleballer, acquired from the New York Mets during the offseason after he won the NL Cy Young Award, struggled earlier this season but finished strongly, going 5-1 with a 3.17 ERA in his last seven starts.
‘‘He had a good year,’’ Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. ‘‘It was his 14th win, and for a team below .500, you’ll take that.’’
Tampa Bay, which had won seven of its previous nine against Toronto, went ahead on home runs by Ben Zobrist in the first and Delmon Young in the second, his second in two games and the 100th of his career. Dickey allowed 35 homers, one behind the major league-high total of Oakland’s A.J. Griffin (36).
Dickey recovered from the shaky opening and allowed just one hit after the third.
‘‘He was able to kind of settle in and get into the rhythm of the game,’’ Longoria said. ‘‘He just shut us down offensively after that.’’
Hellickson retired nine in a row before Jose Reyes singled to open the fourth. After a sacrifice, Brett Lawrie reached on Longoria’s fielding error, and Moises Sierra and Anthony Gose followed with RBI singles.
Ryan Goins grounded a go-ahead single up the middle, and center fielder Sam Fuld overran the ball, which went all the way to the wall. Gose scored on the error for a 4-2 lead, and Goins was thrown out at the plate on Zobrist’s relay from shortstop.
‘‘I think I just took my eye off it just a second too early,’’ Fuld said. ‘‘You can’t really imagine a worse scenario as an outfielder.’’
Hellickson (12-10) allowed six runs — three earned — and six hits in 4⅔ innings. He was disappointed he didn’t overcome his teammates’ defensive miscues.
‘‘The guys have been picking me up all year, offensively and defensively,’’ Hellickson said. ‘‘It would have been nice to pick them up for once.’’
Lawrie and Sierra chased Hellickson with run-scoring singles in the fifth.
Dickey left after two errors and a walk helped the Rays load the bases with one out in the eighth. Sergio Santos came on and got James Loney to ground into a double play on the first pitch.
Santos gave up Kelly Johnson’s RBI double in the ninth, then struck out pinch hitter Luke Scott for his first save in three chances.
Lawrie’s lip was cut in the seventh when a Roberto Hernandez pitch grazed his shoulder and bounced off his cheek. Bleeding from his mouth as he walked to first base, Lawrie was checked by a trainer but remained in the game.