WHAT IT MEANS: R.A. Dickey’s road to 20 wins got a little more challenging.
Dickey surrendered three runs (two earned), including solo homers to Jimmy Rollins and Domonic Brown, in a 112-pitch effort over seven innings and was tagged with the loss as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Mets, 3-1, Monday.
New York Mets
The Mets dropped to 4-22 at Citi Field since the All-Star break and dipped a season-worst 15 games under .500. They failed to exceed three runs for the 14th straight home game, extending their franchise record.
Dickey (18-6) now needs two winning decisions in his final three starts to become the franchise's first 20-game winner since Frank Viola in 1990. The knuckleballer is due to face the Miami Marlins on Sunday at Citi Field, then pitch at Atlanta on Sept. 28 and at Miami in the season finale on Oct. 3.
Dickey did reach 200 strikeouts for the season with a second-inning K of Brown. The knuckleballer became the 10th Mets pitcher to reach that plateau, joining David Cone (1988, 1990-92), Sid Fernandez (1986), Dwight Gooden (1984-86, 1990), Jerry Koosman (1976), Al Leiter (2000), Pedro Martinez (2005), Jon Matlack (1973), Johan Santana (2008) and Tom Seaver (1968-76).
The Mets’ lone run came on a fifth-inning flare by Daniel Murphy over Rollins at shortstop that scored Mike Nickeas and made the score 2-1. Nickeas had opened the inning with a surprise bunt single against Cliff Lee.
That partly atoned for a passed ball by Nickeas when Rollins struck out to open the game. Rollins reached first base on the play, advanced to second on an errant pickoff throw by Dickey and eventually scored on a sac fly by Chase Utley.
WHAT’S NEXT: Matt Harvey (3-5, 2.92 ERA) makes his final 2012 start when he opposes Phillies right-hander Tyler Cloyd (1-1, 4.95) at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday. Cloyd, whose primary pitch is a cutter, made his major league debut Aug. 29 against the Mets in Philly in place of scratched Cole Hamels. The Mets are one loss from clinching their fourth straight losing season.