Commentary

Hamels spoils Dickey's shot at history

Mets knuckleballer tosses one-hitter, losing no-no to opposing pitcher

Updated: August 14, 2010, 1:15 AM ET
By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Not only did the New York Mets not need a closer during Francisco Rodriguez's two-day suspension, they did not need a bullpen.

A day after Johan Santana tossed a four-hit shutout against the Colorado Rockies, the ace's knuckleball-throwing teammate one-upped him.

R.A. Dickey limited the Philadelphia Phillies to a sixth-inning single by opposing pitcher Cole Hamels in a one-hit shutout as the Mets won the series opener, 1-0, at Citi Field.

The Mets have won back-to-back games for the first time since June 22-23. That 43-game drought was the longest in the major leagues since the San Diego Padres went 47 straight games in 2003 without winning two in a row, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Dickey allowed only two baserunners. He walked ex-Met Wilson Valdez in the third inning, in what became the knuckleballer's second one-hit shutout this season. While pitching with Triple-A Buffalo, Dickey allowed a single to the first batter he faced against Durham on April 29, then retired 27 straight.

Dickey had been roughed up last weekend in Philadelphia, when he was charged with a season-high six runs in three innings.

"If you go back and look at the tape, I threw about six or seven fastballs in the first inning alone last game," Dickey said. "I threw three all night tonight. I just had a great knuckleball from the beginning. [Catcher] Henry [Blanco] and I just stuck with it. It was like a robot, putting down the sign every time."

Philadelphia has been shut out in all four of its games at Citi Field this season. The Mets have thrown a major league-high 18 shutouts this season.

Only the Mets and Padres have never produced a no-hitter in franchise history.

The Mets' lone run came on consecutive doubles by David Wright and Carlos Beltran in the sixth. An inning earlier, Mike Hessman originally was awarded a solo homer off Hamels. After a video review, it was ruled that a fan interfered with the baseball, which otherwise would have been in play.

Hessman was placed on third base. Jeff Francoeur and Blanco then consecutively struck out and Dickey ultimately grounded back to the pitcher to strand Hessman.

Dickey confessed that it stung that the only hit came from the opposing pitcher.

"Yeah, it does," Dickey said. "That's the true answer. It does. It does hurt. A first-pitch knuckleball, and it was a good one -- low. He just hit it off the end. That's baseball, really."

It was the fourth time in franchise history that the Mets tossed a one-hitter and the opposing pitcher had the only hit, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

It is also just the third time in the last 17 years in the major leagues that a pitcher threw a one-hitter with the only hit coming from the opposing pitcher, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The other instances: Tim Hudson for the Braves on May 1, 2006 (hit by Jason Jennings of the Rockies) and Steve Trachsel of the Mets on Aug. 18, 2003 (hit by Chin-Hui Tsao of the Rockies).

Dickey lightheartedly suggested that he wished Francoeur had tried to throw out Hamels at first base from right field.

Francoeur actually thought about it.

"It was a soft liner," Francoeur said. "It's not like he squared it up hard. ... I came charging. When I finally got the ball, I looked. He was five steps from first base. I didn't have a shot. Trust me, if I thought I did, I'll take it. At the same time, I didn't want to throw it just for the sake of throwing it."

Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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