R.A. Dickey blanks Nationals to help the Mets avoid the sweep

The New York Mets snapped a three-game skid on Thursday afternoon, defeating the Washington Nationals 3-1:

R.A. Dickey started for NY, tossing 7 1/3 scoreless innings en route to his major league leading ninth victory of the season:

Dickey baffled the Nationals limiting them to just four hits while never allowing a runner to pass second base.  His lone rough patch came in the bottom of the seventh inning after Adam LaRoche worked an 11-pitch walk to place runners on first and second with no-outs. R.A. worked his way out of the potential rally by inducing Michael Morse to ground into a fielders choice before Ian Desmond hit into a 5-5-3 double play to end the inning.  Following the game, Dickey spoke to reporters, saying:

I feel comfortable with where I am with the [knuckle ball]. There have been times in my career with the knuckleball, especially since I’ve been with the Mets, where I felt like I’ve been in a pretty good groove with it. But I haven’t been able to do some things that I’ve wanted to do. Now, recently. I feel like I have had some more weapons at my disposal. But it’s come with a lot of hard work.”

The 37-year-old right hander has been simply amazing this season.  His 7 1/3 shutout innings of the Nationals this afternoon extended his career best scoreless-inning streak to 24 2/3 innings; one out shy of Gio Gonzalez‘s MLB best 25 scoreless-inning streak from earlier in the season. He is just seven innings away from tying the franchise record 31 2/3 scoreless-innings set by Jerry Koosman in 1979 and became the first pitcher since Mike Pelfrey (2010) to toss three-consecutive scoreless starts.

Photo taken by Michael Baron

THE DUDE ABIDES: Lucas Duda blasted a two-run homerun in the top of the fifth inning to give the Mets a lead they would not relinquish.  The Dude finished the game with two hits in four at-bats. The two-run jack was his 10th of the year and fifth over his last eight games.  Duda has collected a hit in seven of those eight contest, going 10-for-28 with 12 runs batted in, while improving his season average to .262 in the process.

UNDER THE WEATHER:  Jason Bay was scratched from today’s lineup with flu-like symptoms and following the game, told reporters the antibiotic he was taking for a sinus infection was the reason for him feeling nauseous:

I actually felt good. And then I got instantly sick. And lucky the doctor was here and said, ‘What’s going on?’ And I said, ‘I felt fine. All of a sudden I had this feeling. I didn’t feel so well and ran to the bathroom.’  I said I had a sinus infection and I’m taking an antibiotic. And he was like, ‘You’re not taking blah, blah, blah, are you?’ And I was like, ‘Actually, that’s exactly what I’m taking.’ He was like, ‘It’s a great medicine, but the No. 1 side effect for about half the people is [nausea].’ “

HIT-LESS NO MORE: Daniel Murphy stranded the bases loaded in the top of the third.  He tapped a grounder back to the mound, resulting  in a 1-2-3 inning ending double play which extended his hit-less streak to 19 at-bats.  Murphy ended the 0-for-19 skid with a single up the middle in the fifth.  He followed up the seeing-eye-single with an RBI single in his next at-bat, giving the Mets a 3-0 lead.

RUMBLE IN THE BRONX: Johan Santana (3-2, 2.38 ERA) will take the mound for the Mets tomorrow night at 7:10 pm as the Mets head into the Bronx for the first Subway Series of the year.  Santana will oppose New York Yankees starter, Hiroki Kuroda (4-6, 3.82).

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