|N.Y. Mets (32-26) «||0||0||0||0||2||0||1||0||0||3||10||0|
WASHINGTON -- On a bright, sunny afternoon, R.A. Dickey had the Washington hitters swinging at shadows.
Dickey (9-1) extended the longest shutout string of his career to 24 2/3 innings -- a span that began against Pittsburgh and continued against San Diego, St. Louis and the Nats.
"Literally, when I go out there, the only streak I care about is getting that hitter out," he said. "It doesn't change the mentality because there's a run of scoreless innings."
Dickey became the first pitcher in the majors to reach nine wins this season, backed by Lucas Duda's fifth homer in eight games. Dickey also exceeded his victory total from last year, when he often was the victim of poor run support.
"I'm getting more swings and misses. Other than that, I'm not doing anything differently," Dickey said.
"I'm trying to induce them into hitting pieces of the ball, not getting solid contact," he said.
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Nationals teen Bryce Harper fanned twice. He awkwardly chased strike three in the first inning, then casually flipped his bat.
No luck today, rookie.
"He throws it hard, throws it soft. Sometimes, it starts at your face and goes down through the strike zone. He's a pretty unbelievable pitcher. It was pretty fun to face him, but going 0 for 4 is not fun," he said.
"You're just trying to look for something up in the zone or just trying to swing as hard as you can or something. I don't even know. This is my first time really facing a knuckeball guy like that," he said.
Duda hit his 10th homer, a two-run shot in the fifth against Chien-Ming Wang (1-2). Daniel Murphy, who earlier bounced into an inning-ending double play that left him in a 0-for-19 rut, later added an RBI single.
The way Dickey has been pitching lately, those three runs were more than enough. He struck out eight and walked two, and most of the outs were soft ones. When Adam LaRoche worked out an 11-pitch walk, it was a major accomplishment.
Mets manager Terry Collins said nice weather has been a factor in Dickey's good fortune, allowing him a better grip and therefore better command.
"When you get in that batter's box, you better be ready to hit something that's fluttering," he said.
Dickey credited a harder knuckleball -- thrown in the low 80s mph, up from the mid-70s -- with giving him a later, better break on the pitch.
"I feel comfortable with where I am with the pitch," he said. "And look: It's a knuckleball. It can be fickle."
Washington never got a runner past second base when Dickey was on the mound. He worked out of a two-on, no-out jam in the seventh and left after Jhonatan Solano's one-out single in the eighth.
The win stopped the Mets' three-game losing streak heading into the Subway Series that begins Friday night at Yankee Stadium. The Mets had lost the first two at Nationals Park in the series.
Wang allowed eight hits in 5 1/3 innings in his second start of the season. The Mets won for just the second time in 10 meetings with Washington since last September.
There wasn't a whole lot for Nationals fans to cheer about on a bright afternoon until Zimmerman's third homer. Midway through the game, however, there was a ripple of applause throughout the crowd of 32,096 when clouds briefly blocked the glare.
|R.A. Dickey becomes the first to reach nine wins while extending the longest shutout string of his career to 24 2/3 innings. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
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|New York Mets|
|Kirk Nieuwenhuis, CF-RF||5||1||1||0||0||1||1||.293|
|Josh Thole, C||5||0||1||0||0||1||1||.283|
|David Wright, 3B||4||1||2||0||1||0||1||.362|
|Lucas Duda, RF||4||1||2||2||1||0||2||.262|
|Frank Francisco, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Daniel Murphy, 2B||5||0||2||1||0||0||3||.290|
|Scott Hairston, LF||3||0||0||0||1||1||2||.282|
|Ike Davis, 1B||3||0||0||0||1||1||3||.161|
|Omar Quintanilla, SS||3||0||2||0||0||0||0||.308|
|R.A. Dickey, P||3||0||0||0||0||1||4||.115|
|Bobby Parnell, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Andres Torres, CF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.216|
|2B - Lucas Duda (6, Wang)|
|3B - David Wright (2, Gonzalez)|
|HR - Lucas Duda (10, Wang)|
|SH - R.A. Dickey (4)|
|RBI - Lucas Duda 2 (35), Daniel Murphy (23)|
|2-OUT RBI - Lucas Duda 2 (18)|
|SB - Kirk Nieuwenhuis (4, 2nd base off Wang/Solano), David Wright (6, 2nd base off Gorzelanny/Solano), Daniel Murphy (4, 2nd base off Wang/Solano)|
|Team LOB - 11|
|DP - Dickey-Quintanilla-Davis, Wright-Davis|
|PB - Josh Thole 2 (5)|
|New York Mets|
|R.A. Dickey (W,9-1)||7.1||4||0||0||2||8||0||2.44|
|Bobby Parnell (H,12)||0.2||0||0||0||1||0||0||2.81|
|Frank Francisco (S,15)||1||1||1||1||0||0||1||5.55|
|Pitches-Strikes - R.A. Dickey 105-73, Bobby Parnell 8-4, Frank Francisco 14-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - R.A. Dickey 11-1, Bobby Parnell 2-0, Frank Francisco 2-1|
|Batters Faced - R.A. Dickey 26, Bobby Parnell 3, Frank Francisco 4|
|Stephen Lombardozzi, LF-2B||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.289|
|Bryce Harper, CF-RF||4||0||0||0||0||2||3||.276|
|Ryan Zimmerman, 3B||4||1||2||1||0||1||0||.245|
|Adam LaRoche, 1B||3||0||0||0||1||1||0||.269|
|Michael Morse, RF-LF||4||0||1||0||0||0||2||.250|
|Ian Desmond, SS||4||0||1||0||0||1||2||.257|
|Danny Espinosa, 2B||2||0||0||0||0||1||2||.220|
|Tom Gorzelanny, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.500|
|a- Xavier Nady, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.151|
|Mike Gonzalez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Jhonatan Solano, C||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||.286|
|Chien-Ming Wang, P||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.000|
|Rick Ankiel, CF||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||.223|
|a-grounded out for Gorzelanny in the 8th|
|HR - Ryan Zimmerman (3, Francisco)|
|RBI - Ryan Zimmerman (20)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|DP - Wang-Solano-LaRoche|
|Chien-Ming Wang (L,1-2)||5.1||8||2||2||3||1||1||5.11|
|HBP - Quintanilla (by Chien-Ming Wang)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Chien-Ming Wang 84-51, Tom Gorzelanny 42-26, Mike Gonzalez 15-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chien-Ming Wang 8-6, Tom Gorzelanny 4-0, Mike Gonzalez 3-0|
|Batters Faced - Chien-Ming Wang 27, Tom Gorzelanny 10, Mike Gonzalez 4|
|Attendance - 32096|
|Game Time - 2:47|
|Temperature - 78|
|Umpires - Home - Brian Knight, First Base - Mike Winters, Second Base - Mark Wegner, Third Base - Wally Bell|