Their offensive futility continued, but the Mets managed to eclipse the two-run barrier for the first time in eight games Saturday, and that was enough for R.A. Dickey to earn his 16th win.
The Mets snapped a six-game losing streak and won at home for the third time in 19 games, beating the Houston Astros, 3-1, before 29,906 at Citi Field. Frank Francisco earned his 21st save as Houston, baseball's worst team, lost for the 44th time in its last 52 games to drop to 40-87.
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Dickey (16-4) retired the first 10 batters, worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fifth and drove in the game's first run with a two-out infield single in the fourth. He allowed one run, five hits and a walk in seven innings, lowering his ERA to 2.76, and became the first Mets pitcher to win 16 games since Johan Santana in 2008.
Dickey's impressive outing came on a day when he told manager Terry Collins he lacked command of his knuckleball. He came out after the seventh despite throwing only 86 pitches.
"I had a pitch count that I should have thrown a complete game,'' Dickey said, "but the way I felt, it would have been selfish of me to not be honest about [not having command]."
Said Collins: "We think this guy's invincible. He's starting to get as run-down as anybody else. He's pitched a lot of innings, probably a lot more than anybody else."
With Ronny Cedeño on third in the fourth inning after Josh Thole hit into a double play, Dickey hit a weak grounder in front of the plate. Catcher Jason Castro barreled over pitcher Fernando Abad as both attempted to field the ball, allowing Dickey to reach base as the Mets took a 1-0 lead.
With the bases loaded after three consecutive one-out singles in the fifth, Dickey got pinch hitter Steve Pearce to ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play, with Cedeño on the receiving end of a hard slide at second by Brian Bogusevic.
Justin Turner's first home run since Aug. 6, 2011, a solo shot to leftfield in the sixth, made it 2-0.
After Scott Moore was hit by a pitch and scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-1, Dickey got Bogusevic to ground into a 6-4-3 double play with runners on first and second and one out in the seventh.
Jason Bay's RBI single to right in the eighth snapped an 0-for-14 skid and made it 3-1.
The Mets failed to capitalize on a pair of early opportunities.
With men on first and second and none out in the first inning, David Wright struck out and Scott Hairston flied out to left. Turner was hit by a pitch to load the bases, but Cedeño grounded to short on the next pitch.
Wright and Hairston walked with two outs in the third, but Turner grounded out to short.
"We had some opportunities to break this game open and didn't," Collins said. "But it's a start. We still got 35 games to play. Let's go win 25 of 'em, see what the results are going to be."