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Thursday, March 15, 2012
Marlins 3, Mets 1: Dickey start dampened

By Adam Rubin

R.A. Dickey retired all six batters he faced before a 54-minute rain delay forced him from the game and the Mets ultimately lost to Jose Reyes and the Miami Marlins, 3-1, Thursday afternoon in Jupiter. Adam Loewen dropped a two-out fly ball in left field in the seventh, allowing two runs to score and break a tie.

Terry Collins was ejected by plate umpire D.J. Reyburn for arguing a batter’s interference call against Jordany Valdespin after the second-base prospect bunted in the eighth. Because the visitors’ clubhouse is by the left-field foul pole at Roger Dean Stadium, Collins had to trudge roughly 350 feet as the game paused in order for him to depart.

Collins said he never had been ejected in a spring-training game before. He was still miffed about a reversed call earlier in the game and brought it up to Reyburn. The ump told Collins he believed the ball grazed Valdespin’s shirt.

“No big deal,” Collins said. “That’s certainly not the story of the game. The story of the game was R.A. Dickey was outstanding. Too bad the rain came, because he was really, really pitching good. … The last guy that he threw to that he struck out, [Terry Tiffee], that ball dropped nine inches.”

The Mets scored their lone run in the first inning, when Ike Davis’ ground-rule double plated Justin Turner, who had singled. Jason Bay had solid hits in both at-bats against Marlins ace Josh Johnson, including a double to right-center in the third inning.

“The contact was good. For me, it was more about the timing,” Bay said. “I’m really just trying to get back to game speed.”

Said Collins: “He works hard, but I just think game at-bats are important. That’s why we’re trying to get him to go back-to-back days. He’s going to play again tomorrow, and get some more at-bats tomorrow.”

After being chased from the game because of the rain delay, Dickey simulated another five innings on a covered mound and upped his pitch count to 75.

“It was a good day because mechanically I felt real in sync,” Dickey said. “My body responded well. I think about a week ago, two days after the Washington outing, I feel like my body kind of turned a corner. I felt good.”

Manny Acosta tossed two scoreless relief innings with three strikeouts. Bobby Parnell struck out two and allowed a hit in a scoreless fifth. Parnell has now tossed four scoreless Grapefruit League innings and is locking himself into a bullpen spot.

Johan Santana makes his third Grapefruit League start Friday as the Mets play the Detroit Tigers in Port St. Lucie.

Charley Thurber, a 39th-round pick out of the University of Tennessee last year, went 2-for-3 with a double, homer, two runs scored and four RBIs as a group of assorted Mets minor leaguers beat Canadian 18-and-under national team members. Jared West, Michael Fulmer, Juan Urbina, Akeel Morris, Casey Hauptman, T.J. Chism and two other pitchers combined for 15 strikeouts.