R.A. Dickey gets 14th win as Mets beat Diamondbacks, 5-1

R.A. Dickey throws against the Arizona Diamondbacks in R.A. Dickey throws against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first inning. (July 29, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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PHOENIX -- For R.A. Dickey, July 2012 will always be a month to remember because it included his first All-Star Game appearance.

But the knuckleballer went into Sunday's start against the Diamondbacks with a 6.49 ERA in games that really counted in July. That includes a one-inning relief appearance.

Dickey, who went 5-0 with a 0.93 ERA in June, regained that month's form Sunday. Pitching despite a case of nausea, he allowed only an unearned run in seven innings as the Mets split the four-game series with a 5-1 win at Chase Field.

"He threw very well," manager Terry Collins said. "That's the R.A. Dickey we saw in the first half. Didn't feel good the entire game and all he does is go out and battle."

Dickey (14-2), who tied Tampa Bay's David Price for the major-league lead in wins, gave up four hits and walked three with eight strikeouts.

"I had a pretty good knuckleball from the beginning," Dickey said. "Pretty much the whole [day]."

Dickey was backed by Scott Hairston, who had two hits and drove in a pair of runs. Hairston continued to punish lefthanders and increase his trade value before Tuesday's 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline.

Hairston (2-for-5) improved to .315 with 26 RBIs against lefthanders. A free agent at the end of the season, he would be an attractive pickup for a team in need of a righthanded hitter.

"It's kind of hard to ignore [trade rumors]," Hairston said. "I know a lot can happen in the next few days, but I'm a Met now, I'm happy to be a Met, and I'm enjoying my time here."

The Mets, who had lost 14 of 16, will spend the next four days in San Francisco playing the Giants. General manager Sandy Alderson will spend the first day and a half trying to see if there are any deals that make sense for his 49-53 team.

"It'd be tough to part with a guy like Scott Hairston," Collins said. "But I can understand why teams would bring his name up."

The Mets also are a team in need of a righthanded hitter, especially with Jason Bay continuing to struggle. Bay went 0-for-3 with a walk and is hitless in his last 22 at-bats. His last chance to be an everyday player could come Monday night against lefthander Madison Bumgarner.

If Bay (.159) doesn't have a good game, Mike Baxter could be in leftfield Tuesday against Tim Lincecum and against righthanders for the foreseeable future. Baxter was activated from the disabled list after the game and Kirk Nieuwenhuis was optioned to Buffalo.

One player who won't be going anywhere is Dickey. With a team-friendly $5-million option for 2013, he will be a Met at 4:01 p.m. Tuesday.

Dickey allowed a one-out line single to left in the second inning to Paul Goldschmidt. The Diamondbacks didn't get another hit until Aaron Hill's single to deep short in the sixth.

By then, the Mets had built a 4-0 lead against lefthander Joe Saunders (5-7). David Wright doubled off the bottom of the rightfield wall in the first inning to drive in Daniel Murphy and Hairston followed with a double down the rightfield line to make it 2-0. It stayed that way until the fifth, when Wright walked, stole second and scored on Hairston's single to left for a 3-0 lead. The Mets made it 4-0 in the sixth when Murphy doubled home Andres Torres.

Arizona scored in the bottom of the sixth on Goldschmidt's RBI single, but the run was unearned because Tejada threw Hill's infield single into the Mets' dugout for an error and Josh Thole committed a passed ball.

The Mets got the run back in the eighth when Thole doubled home Torres to make it 5-1.

"We'll take the split," Collins said. "They were playing very, very well before we came in here. We'll take it and move on to the next town."

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