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Knuckleballer Dickey, Mets riddle Phillies to tune of shutout

CBSSports.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- Ryan Howard and the Philadelphia Phillies must be pining for a fastball by now.

R.A. Dickey became the second straight knuckleballer to baffle the NL champs, shaking off an early line drive that hit him on his non-pitching elbow to lead the New York Mets to an 8-0 victory Tuesday night.

Two days after 43-year-old Boston knuckler Tim Wakefield tossed eight scoreless innings to beat Philadelphia 8-3, Dickey shut down the powerful Phillies for his first major league win since April 10, 2009, with Minnesota against the Chicago White Sox.

"You are used to guys who have everyday stuff, but it's very rare that you see a knuckleballer. Two in a row is even rarer -- like Halley's Comet," Howard said. "Tomorrow we get a regular pitcher and try to right the ship."

Jason Bay and Jeff Francoeur each drove in a pair of runs in the opener of a three-game series between NL East rivals at Citi Field, where the last-place Mets are 17-9.

Jose Reyes had three hits and scored three times. He also stole two bases.

"I've been feeling very good in my legs the last two or three weeks," Reyes said. "That's a big part of my game."

Called up from Triple-A Buffalo last Wednesday to replace an ineffective Oliver Perez in New York's unstable rotation, Dickey (1-0) escaped three bases-loaded jams in the first three innings.

The 35-year-old right-hander allowed seven singles in six innings and struck out seven, matching his career high. He walked three.

"I feel like I'm 27 in knuckleball years because I started throwing it in '05," said Dickey, who had his wife and three kids in the stands. "It's been a nice journey for me with this pitch."

Dickey was hit on the left elbow by Howard's line-drive single to start the second. Mets manager Jerry Manuel and a trainer came out to check on Dickey, who threw three warmup pitches and remained in the game.

The next inning, the Mets announced that X-rays on Dickey's elbow were negative and he would be monitored closely throughout the game for pain and swelling.

"When he got to the mound I couldn't feel my hand and that was a little scary," Dickey said, adding that the sensation began to return to his left hand a couple of batters later.

After taking two of three from the crosstown rival Yankees last weekend in an exciting Subway Series, the Mets (23-23) played a crisp game on both offense and defense that was easily one of their best all-around efforts this season.

Reyes created runs with his speed and New York excelled at situational hitting, putting the ball in play and moving runners along against 47-year-old soft-tosser Jamie Moyer (5-4).

"A couple of old men," Dickey said. "I think I would've caught a lot of flak from my teammates if he threw a fastball harder than I did."

The Mets have won three straight games against last year's two World Series teams - and four out of five overall since dropping seven of eight.

"Hopefully, tonight's a good sign for us," Francoeur said. "We have to do that. We're not going to slug home runs every night."

Before batting practice, manager Charlie Manuel said he thought facing Wakefield in their previous game could be a benefit to the Phillies against Dickey.

Not at all.

Despite a lineup featuring five players who were the leading vote-getters at their positions when the initial NL All-Star tallies were released Tuesday, Philadelphia stranded 13 runners.

"We got outplayed, we got outhustled," manager Charlie Manuel said. "We can go through stretches, but tonight especially we could play with more enthusiasm. We're playing bad right now."

Dickey has been on a roll going back to last month in the minors, when he retired 27 straight batters following a leadoff single in Buffalo's 4-0 win over Durham on April 29.

He has been tutored by Wakefield in the past and spoke with his knuckleball buddy Tuesday about his splendid outing against first-place Philadelphia.

The two-time defending NL champions have lost three straight -- including a near no-hitter by Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka on Saturday night.

"We've got to come out with more resilience than this," Charlie Manuel said.

Raul Valdes worked three innings for his first major league save and even drove a double over Jayson Werth's head in right for his first career RBI. The lefty reliever is 4 for 7 at the plate this season, his first in the big leagues.

"Can't say enough about that guy," Francoeur said. "He never smiles. Hits a double and looks like he's supposed to do it. ... If we were in St. Louis, I'd be batting ninth and he'd be batting eighth."

Notes

  • Reyes' first-inning single was his 1,000th career hit.
  • The Phillies leading at their positions in fan balloting for the All-Star Game are Utley at second base (the leading vote-getter overall), Placido Polanco at third, Werth and Shane Victorino in the outfield, and injured shortstop Jimmy Rollins.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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R.A. Dickey shakes off an early line drive to his non-pitching elbow and shuts out the Phils through six.  (AP)
R.A. Dickey shakes off an early line drive to his non-pitching elbow and shuts out the Phils through six. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

J. Reyes
AB 5
R 3
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
New York

R. Dickey
IP 6.0
H 7
ER 0
BB 3
K 7
 

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Shane Victorino, CF3000210 .253
Placido Polanco, 3B5030001 .307
Chase Utley, 2B5000025 .297
Ryan Howard, 1B5020024 .302
Jayson Werth, RF3010112 .327
Raul Ibanez, LF4020013 .252
Carlos Ruiz, C4010011 .295
Juan Castro, SS2000202 .253
Jamie Moyer, P2000023 .125
   a- Greg Dobbs, PH1000012 .150
    David Herndon, P0000000 .000
   b- Ben Francisco, PH1000001 .185
    Nelson Figueroa, P0000000 .500
Totals35090511  
a-struck out for Moyer in the 6th
b-popped out for Herndon in the 8th
Batting
2B - Placido Polanco (11, Valdes)
Team LOB - 13
Philadelphia Phillies
Jamie Moyer (L,5-4) 5744200 4.55
David Herndon 2211000 4.41
Nelson Figueroa 1433000 5.09
Pitches-Strikes - Jamie Moyer 104-59, David Herndon 30-17, Nelson Figueroa 29-19
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jamie Moyer 7-8, David Herndon 4-2, Nelson Figueroa 2-1
Batters Faced - Jamie Moyer 24, David Herndon 8, Nelson Figueroa 7
New York Mets
Jose Reyes, SS5331003 .232
Luis Castillo, 2B4011002 .250
Jason Bay, LF5012001 .304
Ike Davis, 1B3000100 .282
David Wright, 3B4110002 .261
Angel Pagan, CF3110102 .286
Rod Barajas, C4120001 .267
Jeff Francoeur, RF3122001 .219
R.A. Dickey, P1000001 .000
   a- Chris Carter, PH1011000 .313
    Raul Valdes, P1111000 .571
Totals34813820  
a-singled for Dickey in the 6th
Batting
2B - David Wright (11, Moyer), Jeff Francoeur (7, Herndon), Raul Valdes (1, Figueroa)
3B - Jose Reyes (3, Figueroa)
SF - Jeff Francoeur (6)
SH - Luis Castillo (6), R.A. Dickey (1)
RBI - Jose Reyes (13), Luis Castillo (12), Jason Bay 2 (21), Jeff Francoeur 2 (25), Chris Carter (4), Raul Valdes (1)
2-OUT RBI - Jose Reyes (3), Luis Castillo (6), Raul Valdes (1)
SB - Jose Reyes 2 (11, 3rd base off Moyer/Ruiz, 2nd base off Moyer/Ruiz), Jason Bay (7, 2nd base off Moyer/Ruiz)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Dickey-Barajas-Davis
New York Mets
R.A. Dickey (W,1-0) 6700370 1.50
Raul Valdes (S,1) 3200240 2.86
Pitches-Strikes - R.A. Dickey 103-65, Raul Valdes 57-35
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - R.A. Dickey 6-4, Raul Valdes 2-3
Batters Faced - R.A. Dickey 27, Raul Valdes 13
Game Information
Attendance - 33026
Game Time - 2:53
Temperature - 71
Umpires - Home - Tim McClelland, First Base - Mike Everitt, Second Base - Andy Fletcher, Third Base - Adrian Johnson