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Dickey's knuckler baffles Tigers in Mets' 5-0 win

New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey throws during

New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey throws during his game against the Detroit Tigers. (June 23, 2010) Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Jerry Seinfeld was in the broadcast booth, Lady Gaga-inspired foam fingers were being waved in the stands and R.A. Dickey was baffling the Tigers.

It was a party at Citi Field last night as the Mets blanked the Tigers, 5-0, to continue their home dominance behind their bargain-basement find knuckleballer.

Dickey (6-0, 2.33 ERA) threw eight innings, retiring 18 of his last 19 batters, and Jose Reyes was a double short of the cycle as the Mets improved to a sizzling 26-10 at home on a hot, sticky night.

Dickey allowed four hits and two walks and struck out four. He's the first Met to win six of his first seven starts with the team.

The only down note for the Mets was when Angel Pagan was removed for a pinch hitter in the seventh because of tightness in his right side. Jerry Manuel said Pagan would get Thursday night off; Pagan said he asked out of the game to prevent aggravating the injury and missing a whole bunch of time.

Dickey wanted to pitch the ninth, and at 97 pitches and having set down the last 13 to face him there was no reason for him not to. Except that Manuel wanted to give Francisco Rodriguez an inning.

"It's a difficult, difficult decision that you hate to deprive a guy of a complete-game shutout possibility," Manuel said. "He was rolling pretty good . . . I think for the most part we hopefully did the right thing."

Dickey, whose lone shutout came in 2003, tried to talk his way back out for the ninth.

"I did," he said, "but I was unsuccessful . . . I think I have the right to be excited to go back out there for the ninth inning for a complete-game shutout. You don't get that opportunity very often. It's OK."

Reyes had a triple in the first inning, a single in the third and a solo home run in the fifth. With a chance for the cycle, he grounded into a force in the seventh and finished 3-for-4. "I feel like me again," said Reyes, who is batting .344 since returning to the leadoff spot May 15.

David Wright drove in Reyes for the Mets' first run in the third with a double off Jeremy Bonderman (3-5). The Mets gave out 20,000 foam fingers before the game with the words "Make Wright #1" and "Vote Now at Mets.com" on them.

The organization was having some fun with Lady Gaga's recent appearance at Citi Field, when she made an obscene gesture to photographers and fans. It also was trying to promote Wright's candidacy to start at third base for the All-Star Game. He trailed Placido Polanco of the Phillies by more than 130,000 votes in the latest tabulation.

Seinfeld and Lady Gaga were linked the other day when the comedian ripped the singer for her recent bawdy behavior at both New York baseball stadiums. It was an interesting confluence of sports and celebrity. But the Mets were more concerned with winning their second straight over the Tigers.

That's where Dickey came in. The 35-year-old gave up a record-tying six home runs to the Tigers; it happened April 6, 2006, when he was with the Rangers. It took Dickey two years to get back to the major leagues.

The Mets made it 2-0 in the fifth when Reyes hit his sixth homer. They opened it up with three in the seventh. Jesus Feliciano had an RBI groundout and Ike Davis hit a two-run single.

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