Stellar Dickey makes sure there is no letdown after Santana gem
The last thing R.A. Dickey was going to do was put extra pressure on himself and create lofty, unnecessary expectations.
Dickey followed in the footsteps of history Saturday, the day after Johan Santana's no-hitter. The knuckleballer knew he couldn't get caught up in the potential web of emotions, telling himself that very thing as his head hit the pillow Friday night.
"It's no easy chore to follow what Johan did," Dickey said Saturday. "So I went to bed last night reminding myself to bring what I bring, whatever that is, and try to be me. I can't be Johan. He did a fantastic thing and I just wanted to try to give our team a chance to win.
"That's what I do. I try to give our team a chance to win every time out."
Saturday wasn't any different. Unfazed by taking the ball after Santana's magical night, Dickey continued his mastery, tossing a seven-hit shutout in the Mets' 5-0 victory over the Cardinals at Citi Field before an announced crowd of 27,914.
David Wright cracked his sixth homer of the season and Dickey, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Andres Torres each drove in a run in the bottom of the second with ground balls as the Mets moved seven games over .500 for the first time since July 15, 2010.
Dickey, who hurled his third career shutout, struck out nine and didn't walk a batter on the way to improving to 8-1, tying him for the major-league lead in wins.
Of the 100 pitches he threw, 73 were strikes. He extended his scoreless streak to 171/3 innings -- his longest such streak since a career-best stretch of 18 innings in 2010.
He's struck out 38 and walked only two in his last three outings, but he's not getting a lot of attention nationally for the way he's throwing the ball.
"I'm fine to be under the radar," Dickey said. "I feel like that's been a part of my story for a long time, and that's OK with me. I can do under the radar good. So if we look up in late August and early September and we've been under the radar -- I think as a team we've been kind of under the radar as well -- that's not a bad place to be.
"We've been able to sneak up on some guys."
The Mets essentially got all they needed in this one in the second inning, when they loaded the bases for Dickey with none out against Lance Lynn, who entered the game with an 8-1 mark. Dickey chopped one to Daniel Descalso and the second baseman bobbled the ball as he tried to transfer it to his throwing hand. First baseman Matt Adams couldn't corral Descalso's throw and Ike Davis scored. Then they added a pair of runs on RBI grounders by Nieuwenhuis and Torres for a 3-0 advantage.
The Mets chased home a run on a wild pitch in the seventh before Wright's blast in the eighth put the finishing touches on things. That ensured that there would be no letdown after Santana's no-no -- something Terry Collins was worried about.
"I was a little bit," the manager said. "With all of the excitement, with all of the energy last night, the tremendous adrenaline rush that everybody had -- guys on the bench, guys in the bullpen, everybody -- I sensed there might be one.
"Except that guy on the mound is pretty focused. R.A. came in today and said, 'This is my day.' "