R.A. Dickey can't win his 19th as Nationals beat Mets
R.A. Dickey insists he is not thinking about a 20-win season and an NL Cy Young Award. He insists he is living in the moment.
Dickey had one bad moment against the Nationals last night. Handed a lead by the Mets' anemic offense two innings earlier, Dickey allowed a go-ahead, pinch-hit, two-run home run to Tyler Moore in the seventh inning and was the losing pitcher as the Mets fell, 5-3, at Citi Field.
"I had a mediocre knuckleball," Dickey said. "And I had to pitch with it."
Dickey (18-5) failed in his attempt to tie Washington's Gio Gonzalez for the major-league lead in wins. His ERA rose slightly (from 2.64 to 2.68).
Dickey had won three straight starts. He has four left beginning with Monday against the Phillies.
"You feel really good with R.A. on the mound," manager Terry Collins said. "You're thinking, 'He's going to get us to the ninth inning and we're going to give ourselves a chance here.' Didn't happen."
Moore's home run to left came on the first pitch of the at-bat: a 76-mile-per-hour knuckleball in the middle of the plate. It was Moore's second pinch-hit homer of the season.
It deflated the crowd of 22,596, some of whom headed for the exits once it became clear Dickey was not going to win after he was removed for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the inning and the Mets did not score.
Dickey allowed three runs and eight hits. He walked three and struck out two.
He tipped his cap to the fans as he walked off after the seventh, knowing he was going to be removed.
"I did need to take a moment and say thank you to the fans," Dickey said. "There was an energy in the park tonight that was different . . . It may or may not have been because I was pitching. But I certainly recognized that and wanted to say thank you."
It also may have been because the Mets finally showed some life on offense when they took a 2-1 lead in the fifth with what for them was a bushel-full of runs.
The Mets had not scored more than one run in an inning at home since Aug. 12. That was a span of 110 innings. They are 4-20 at Citi Field since the All-Star break and have scored three runs or fewer in a franchise-record 12 straight home games, breaking a dubious mark they set in 1979.
"Especially with David's hit, I thought, 'We're going to get going now,' " Collins said.
That didn't happen, either. It was still 3-2 in the ninth when the Nationals scored twice against Frank Francisco and Josh Edgin.
Francisco, pitching on his 33rd birthday, didn't record an out. He allowed a run and left with the bases loaded. Edgin gave up an RBI single to rookie Bryce Harper to make it 5-2. Harper (4-for-5) had the first four-hit game of his career.
Scott Hairston hit a pinch hit homer off Tyler Clippard in the ninth. It was Hairston's 17th home run of the season and third as a pinch hitter in 2012.
Collins pulled out all the stops (such as it were) to give Dickey the best chance to win. He gave Jason Bay his first start against a righthander since Aug. 16 (over Lucas Duda) to maximize the team's defense.