Mets knuckleball specialist R.A. Dickey became the first 18-game winner in the Major Leagues today. With a solid 6 2/3-inning effort and an Ike Davis three-run homer, the Mets took 6-2 win over St. Louis in front of 30,090 at Busch Stadium.
The Mets have won eight of their past 11 games and closed their second-longest road trip of the season with a 6-3 mark. Where was this in July? R.A. Dickey (18-4) is the first New York Mets hurler to record 18 wins in a season since Frank Viola won 20 and Dwight Gooden won 19, both in 1990.
Dickey struck out five and walked one, allowing two earned runs or fewer in four consecutive starts. He deflected credit for the win to Davis, who gave him the necessary breathing room with his key home run. The red-hot Davis has six home runs and 14 RBIs in his past 19 games, including game-winning hits on Aug. 26 and 28. Again, where was this for the past 6 weeks?
“It freed me up; I didn’t have to be so fine,” Dickey said of Davis’ homer. “I could use some other pitches that I knew I could command for strikes. They got some hits on those pitches, which normally I wouldn’t have thrown.”
Mets manager Terry Collins was impressed with Dickey’s ability to stay the course despite having less-than-dominating control of his knuckleball.” He battled very, very hard,” Collins said to MLB.com. “He didn’t have his best stuff. But he continued to work and worked himself out of it like he always does.”
Josh Thole, Dickey’s personal catcher, was also pleased with his gutsy performance. “In-game adjustments, that’s what was more impressive today than anything,” Thole said to MLB.com. “I can say today was definitely not his best knuckleball by any means. He put his ego away and said, ‘You know what, I’m going to have to use my sinker now.’”
Although Dickey had to battle the humidity (moisture and a knuckleball normally do not mix), he still only gave up two earned runs. By Mets’ standards, that’s a Cy Young outing. Let’s have a bit of perspective. R.A. Dickey still had a pretty great game. At least he did in my humble opinion.
The Mets got to St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright (13-12) for five runs on eight hits in five innings. They scored single runs in the second and third innings before taking control in the fifth. Mike Baxter and Murphy singled in front of Davis, who drilled a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left. “I thought it had a chance,” Davis said of the 385-foot drive. “It didn’t get out by a lot.”
Dickey, who tossed a seven-hit shutout against St. Louis on June 2, threw 13 consecutive strikes during a perfect first inning. He worked out of two base runner jams in the second, fourth and fifth innings. St. Louis put the first two runners on in the fourth, but Dickey used his sinker to get Shane Robinson to ground into a double play. He then struck out Daniel Descalso to end the threat.
“If a hiccup occurs and you get a win — it’s nice,” Dickey said.