- Adam Rubin, ESPNNewYork.com
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WHAT IT MEANS: R.A. Dickey upped his career-high scoreless streak to 24 2/3 innings -- within one out of matching the longest in the majors this season, and within seven innings of matching Jerry Koosman’s franchise record. And behind a two-run homer from Lucas Duda, the Mets beat the Nationals, 3-1, Thursday afternoon to salvage the series finale and snap a three-game losing skid.
Dickey became the first Met with three straight scoreless starts since Mike Pelfrey in April 2010.
New York Mets
The longest scoreless streak in the majors this season belongs to Washington's Gio Gonzalez, at 25 innings in April, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Koosman’s franchise record is 31 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings, set in 1973.
Dickey became MLB's first nine-game winner, while shaving his ERA to 2.44. He departed with one out and one runner on base in the eighth. Bobby Parnell ultimately stranded two runners in scoring position to preserve Dickey’s latest scoreless effort.
Dickey will go for the franchise record next week at Tampa Bay.
The Nationals got on the scoreboard with a ninth-inning homer by Ryan Zimmerman against Frank Francisco.
DUDE! Duda became the first Met to reach 10 homers this season. Duda’s two-run shot in the fifth inning against Nats starter Chien-Ming Wang broke a scoreless tie.
Q VG: Omar Quintanilla, who was questionable for the starting lineup because of a left index finger injury, had another body part to worry about early. Wang drilled the shortstop in the right foot in his first plate appearance. After a visit from the trainer at first base, Quintanilla remained and produced singles in each of his next two at-bats.
He later had a stellar fielding play. After the lead two runners reached for Washington in the seventh with the Mets holding a 3-0 lead, Quintanilla ranged to his right to field Michael Morse’s grounder. Quintanilla threw to David Wright to retire the lead runner, Zimmerman. Dickey then preserved his scoreless effort by coaxing Ian Desmond into a 5-5-3 double play.
0 NO: Daniel Murphy’s hitless streak ended at 0-for-19 when he had an infield single that Wang could not handle in the fifth. Murphy then staked the Mets to the 3-0 lead in the seventh when he plated Wright, who had walked, swiped second and advanced to third on a groundout.
In the third, Murphy had stranded the bases loaded by grounding into a 1-2-3 double play.
WHAT’S NEXT: Johan Santana takes the mound at Yankee Stadium on Friday night, pitching for the first time since his 134-pitch no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals. Santana (3-2, 2.38 ERA) will be pitching on two extra days of rest when he works opposite Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (4-6, 3.82).
Santana has tossed back-to-back shutouts, and his own scoreless streak is at 18 innings. He will be bidding to become the first Mets pitcher ever with three straight complete-game shutouts, and only the seventh pitcher in the majors since 1990. The current group: Cliff Lee (2011), Brandon Webb (2007), Roger Clemens (1998), Bobby Witt (1994), Randy Johnson (1994) and David Cone (1994).