Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Nats 5, Mets 3
By Adam Rubin
WHAT IT MEANS: R.A. Dickey should have four more starts in his bid to become the Mets’ first 20-game winner since Frank Viola in 1990. He’ll need two victories.
Dickey surrendered a pinch-hit two-run homer to Tyler Moore in the seventh that staked the Washington Nationals to a one-run lead en route to a 5-3 victory against the Mets on Tuesday night. The Mets dropped to 4-20 at Citi Field since the All-Star break.
Dickey remained stuck at 18 wins, one shy of the MLB lead, claimed by Washington’s Gio Gonzalez in the series opener.
The Mets had staked Dickey to a 2-1 lead with a two-run fifth against Jordan Zimmermann that included RBIs by Daniel Murphy and David Wright. The output snapped the Mets’ 110-inning drought without a multi-run inning at home. That was the second-longest streak in major league history, trailing only the 1909 Washington Senators, who went 119 innings, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
One futility streak remained: The Mets failed to exceed three runs for the 12th straight home game, a new franchise record.
If he continues to work every fifth game, which has been the pattern, Dickey should get four additional starts to try to notch two wins:
Sept. 17 vs. Philadelphia
Sept. 23 vs. Miami
Sept. 28 at Atlanta
Oct. 3 at Miami (season finale)
Dickey is 4-0 with a 1.16 ERA in four starts against the Marlins this season.
His Tuesday line: 7 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 84 pitches, 57 strikes. He departed for pinch hitter Jordany Valdespin to lead off the bottom of the seventh, a half-inning after Moore’s homer staked the Nats to a 3-2 lead.
Dickey had entered the game on pace for the best winning percentage in major league history on a losing team, but falling to 18-5 at least temporarily drops him behind record-holder Sandy Koufax, who went 19-5 (.792) for the 1964 Dodgers. Los Angeles went 80-82 that season.
The Mets had a chance to give Dickey early support. Trailing 1-0, they loaded the bases with one out in the first, but Mike Baxter and Jason Bay consecutively struck out.
NOT-SO-HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Frank Francisco, pitching on his 33rd birthday, allowed all four batters he faced to reach in the ninth. He departed with one run having scored and the bases loaded. Josh Edgin allowed an inherited run to score as Washington took a three-run lead into the bottom of the ninth.
HIT MEN: Wright went 1-for-4. He now has 1,407 career hits, 11 shy of matching Ed Kranepool’s franchise record. Wright struck out in his first two at-bats Tuesday.
STANDING TALL: Jon Rauch worked out of a first-and-third, no-out jam in the eighth. He has limited opponents to two earned runs and 10 hits in 22 1/3 innings spanning his last 31 appearances.
DEEP THOUGHT: Scott Hairston produced a pinch-hit homer in the ninth. The solo shot was Hairston's 17th homer this season, matching his career high.
WHAT’S NEXT: Matt Harvey makes his second-to-last 2012 start. Harvey (3-4, 3.04 ERA) opposes left-hander John Lannan (2-0, 3.46), who steps into the rotation spot Stephen Strasburg occupied before getting shut down.