VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals jumped on Mets starter R.A. Dickey for five runs and eight hits in three innings Saturday as Washington cruised to an 8-2 win. Ryan Zimmerman and Wilson Ramos each had two hits and two RBIs against him.
The Mets scored two runs in the second off Nationals starter Chien-Ming Wang, making his spring training debut. Rob Johnson's groundout drove in Ike Davis, who had singled for the first of his two hits. Omar Quintanilla, who also had two hits, followed with a single that drove in Zach Lutz.
Dickey was unfazed, saying the outing was useful in "gathering information." He added, "There's a part of spring training you have to be real pragmatic about. I've faced these guys so much in previous seasons and they have a pretty good idea of what they want to do."
Dickey said about two-thirds of his 68 pitches were knuckleballs. "I felt like I had a pretty good feel for it today, but maybe it wasn't getting that extra break," he said.
Santana up next
Johan Santana makes his second start Sunday against Mark Buehrle and the Miami Marlins at Digital Domain Park. Santana, who allowed one run in two innings against the Cardinals on Tuesday, is expected to pitch three innings or 40 to 45 pitches, whichever comes first. Mets manager Terry Collins said, "Johan looks great. He's where we want him to be, and hopefully tomorrow is step two in the process."
One of the four players the Mets traded to Minnesota for Santana in February 2008 has come back to the fold. The Mets signed free-agent righthander Kevin Mulvey, a second-round pick in 2006, to a minor-league contract. Mulvey spent most of the 2011 season with Arizona's Triple-A affiliate in Reno, Nev., where he was 4-9 with a 6.64 ERA. Mulvey, Carlos Gomez, Philip Humber and Deolis Guerra went to the Twins in that deal for Santana. Only Guerra remains with the Twins, who traded Mulvey to Arizona in September 2009 for Jon Rauch, now a setup reliever with the Mets.
Outfielders Vinny Rottino and Cesar Puello made outstanding defensive plays soon after they entered the game. Rottino, who replaced Jason Bay in leftfield, made a nice running catch in the gap to rob Jayson Werth of extra bases in the fifth inning. Puello made a running catch on a liner to right-centerfield, then nailed Sandy Leon returning to first for an inning-ending double play.
Utility player Josh Satin, who was the DH, struck out swinging in all four plate appearances. The Mets struck out 13 times.