R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets just missed a no-hitter for the second straight start, yet still made history. The 37-year-old knuckleballer last night became the first Major League Baseball pitcher to throw consecutive one-hitters since Toronto’s Dave Stieb in 1988.
Dickey allowed only a fifth-inning single to Wilson Betemit while striking out a career-high 13 batters in the Mets’ 5-0 win over the Baltimore Orioles. It came five days after he gave up only a first-inning infield single in a 9-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
“I’m just working in the moment,” Dickey told reporters in the clubhouse. “I don’t really feel much more comfortable than the last several years. I don’t know how to explain it.”
Dickey has an 11-1 record with a 2.00 earned run average this season. He leads the major leagues in wins and hasn’t allowed an earned run in his past 42 2/3 innings.
Over his past six starts, Dickey is 6-0 with a 0.18 ERA and has 63 strikeouts in 48 2/3 innings against five walks.
“It’s been ridiculous,” said Mets first baseman Ike Davis, whose sixth-inning grand slam snapped a scoreless tie. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it. It’s nasty, man. I’m glad he’s on our team.”
Dickey is the first National League pitcher to allow no more than one hit in consecutive starts since 1944, when Jim Tobin threw a one-hitter and a no-hitter for the Boston Braves.
Mets manager Terry Collins said Dickey’s performance has been most impressive because he relies mostly on a knuckleball, a pitch he throws about 70-80 miles per hour with no spin, making the flight of the ball erratic and unpredictable.
“This guy is amazing with that pitch,” Collins said of Dickey. “How he commands it is unbelievable.”
Dickey has now won his past nine decisions and yesterday’s victory helped the Mets (36-32) end a three-game losing streak. He had a 19-22 record for the Mets the previous two seasons.
“He just keeps getting better and better,” Collins said. “I’ve never seen anything like it. Right now, he’s got the feel for it.”
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