WHAT IT MEANS: R.A. Dickey rebounded from a blemish against the Yankees to toss eight scoreless innings, Daniel Murphy went deep again while matching a career high with five RBIs and Ruben Tejada reached base a career-high five times as the Mets beat Los Angeles, 9-0, Friday night at Dodger Stadium.
New York Mets
Dickey might have been flirting with a no-hitter into the late innings had one fly ball been pursued more urgently.
Until A.J. Ellis’ clean single in the seventh, the knuckleballer limited the Dodgers to a lone hit -- a two-out single by opposing pitcher Aaron Harang in the third, on a fly ball to which center fielder Andres Torres reacted slowly. Dickey ultimately allowed three hits, plunked a batter (more later) and issued one walk while striking out 10 during a bounceback outing after surrendering five runs against the Yankees.
Dickey won his career-high 10th straight decision. He became MLB’s first 12-game winner. He reached double digits in strikeouts for the MLB-leading fifth time this season, and sixth time in his career. He went 5-0 with a 0.93 ERA and three complete games in six starts in June (besting his 4-0, 1.83 in May).
Dickey-Harang actually was an appropriate matchup, just as Chris Young-Chris Capuano proved that way in the series opener a night earlier.
Harang is mentioned in Dickey’s memoir. The knuckleballer wrote that whenever he has a bad day, he has “a strange custom: I go on my laptop and surf baseball Web sites until I find somebody who had an even worse day than me.” Harang qualified for one of Dickey’s pick-me-ups, for allowing seven runs in 4 1/3 innings with San Diego at Colorado on May 14, 2011. That same day, Dickey had allowed six runs in 5 1/3 innings at Houston. Dickey found solace that Harang struggled worse.
Friday night, Harang allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits and four walks (one intentional) in 5 2/3 innings.
New York Mets
RUBY FRIDAY: Tejada went 4-for-5, was hit by a pitch and scored twice. The hit by pitch seemingly prompted Dickey to respond by plunking Dee Gordon with two out in the sixth, which actually was only L.A’s second baserunner all game at that point.
HAMMER TIME: Murphy’s two-run double capped a three-run fifth that upped the Mets’ lead to 5-0. Two innings later, Murphy launched a three-run homer against right-hander Shawn Tolleson that staked the Mets to an 8-0 lead. It was Murphy’s third homer in three games. He had snapped a 352 at-bat long ball drought Wednesday with a two-homer day at Wrigley Field.
The five RBIs matched Murphy’s career high, which he also produced on May 27, 2009 against the Nationals.
The Mets had grabbed a 2-0 lead in the third on David Wright’s RBI single and Ike Davis’ sacrifice fly. Lucas Duda pushed the lead to 3-0 in the fifth -- ahead of Murphy’s outburst -- with an RBI single that snapped an 0-for-15 drought. Davis went 1-for-4 and is now hitting .198.
WHAT’S NEXT: Johan Santana (5-4, 3.00 ERA) opposes right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (0-4, 4.04) on Saturday at 7:15 p.m. ET.