NEW YORK (AP) — R.A. Dickey became the first major league pitcher in 24 years to throw consecutive one-hitters and Ike Davis hit a grand slam to lead the New York Mets past the Baltimore Orioles 5-0 on Monday night.
Coming off a one-hit gem at Tampa Bay last Wednesday, the knuckleballer struck out a career-high 13 and allowed only Wilson Betemit’s clean single in the fifth inning.
The previous pitcher to throw consecutive one-hitters was Dave Stieb for Toronto in September 1988, according to STATS LLC. The Mets said the last to do it in the National League was Jim Tobin with the Boston Braves in 1944, according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau.
The 37-year-old Dickey (11-1) walked two and became the first 11-game winner in the majors, baffling Baltimore with knucklers that ranged from 66-81 mph in a game that took just 2 hours, 7 minutes. He fanned his final two hitters, topping his previous career best of 12 strikeouts set Wednesday against the Rays.
Dickey has won nine straight decisions and six consecutive starts. It was his fourth game this season with double-digit strikeouts and the fifth of his career. The right-hander has an incredible 71 strikeouts and six walks in his last seven starts, lowering his ERA to 2.00.
Betemit’s two-out single in the fifth ended Dickey’s streak of 13 hitless innings going back to Wednesday. The only blemish in that game was B.J. Upton’s infield single with two outs in the first, a high bouncer that third baseman David Wright tried to field with his bare hand.
After the game, the Mets appealed the official scoring decision to Major League Baseball, asking the commissioner’s office to review the play and consider whether Wright should be charged with an error, thus giving Dickey the team’s second no-hitter this month. The appeal was denied and Dickey said he was relieved, explaining that there would have been “an asterisk by it bigger than the no-hitter itself.”
One thing not in dispute is that Dickey has been one of baseball’s most dominant pitchers all season. And one of the people he can thank for that is Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who was instrumental in persuading Dickey to remake himself into a knuckleballer when both were in Texas.
“He had every attribute of a major league pitcher except the arm,” Showalter said, his thoughts then turning to the fact that his team was about to face Dickey. “I wish it hadn’t happened.”
Betemit’s line drive to right-center brought an ovation from the crowd of 29,014, which had started chanting “R.A. Dickey!” in the fifth.
Dickey even started the New York rally with a leadoff single in the sixth against Jake Arrieta (3-9), a question mark to make his start until just a few hours before the game because he had been feeling ill the past few days.
Jordany Valdespin doubled with one out and Dickey had to scramble back to third after he initially broke the wrong way on Wright’s lineout to shortstop. The pitcher barely beat the throw, and that turned out to be a crucial play.
Lucas Duda walked to load the bases and Davis hit the next pitch just to the left of center for his first career slam. It was his seventh home run of the year. A recent surge raised Davis’ batting average to .194 entering the game.
Baltimore, which had won seven of eight, was coming off consecutive shutouts in Atlanta.
The four RBIs set a career high for Davis. His drive could have stayed in the ballpark before the fences were brought in this season.
Valdespin tripled off Kevin Gregg in the eighth and scored on Wright’s single.
NOTES: Mets LF Jason Bay (concussion) was examined by a doctor and might go again Tuesday. General manager Sandy Alderson said the team doesn’t want Bay to rush back following his second concussion in two years. “I think you have to let things settle down before you make an evaluation,” Alderson said. “He may be out for quite a while.” … Mets SS Ruben Tejada (quadriceps) and RHP Ramon Ramirez (hamstring) were scheduled to make rehab appearances with Class-A St. Lucie. … Slumping 2B Daniel Murphy was rested in favor of Valdespin. … To celebrate the no-hitter thrown by No. 57 Johan Santana on June 1, the Mets offered $5.70 tickets. Santana is scheduled to start Tuesday night, when the first 25,000 fans in attendance will receive a T-shirt featuring a picture of him with his arm raised moments after he pitched the first no-hitter infranchise history. … Santana has been shaky in two starts since throwing a career-high 134 pitches during the no-hitter. Mets manager Terry Collins said pitching coach Dan Warthen and Santana made a couple of tweaks to readjust the left-hander’s delivery during an “outstanding” side session. … Masters champion Bubba Watson threw out a ceremonial first pitch. He chatted with Hall of Famer Tom Seaver in the dugout during batting practice and wore a Mets jersey with “Bubba” on the back. … Showalter said INF Robert Andino would be back in the lineup Tuesday night.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)