SAN DIEGO -- R.A. Dickey's night went from potentially awesome to pretty lousy in a very small time frame Friday night as the Mets lost to the Padres, 3-1.
Bidding for his 15th victory, Dickey pitched no-hit ball for 41/3 innings and was nursing a 1-0 lead when the light-hitting Padres scored a run in the sixth and two in the seventh. Dickey (14-3) wound up allowing four hits and striking out nine in seven innings.
With the score tied at 1 in the seventh, Yonder Alonso doubled in front of a sliding Scott Hairston in rightfield. Carlos Quentin attempted to score from first and the relay throw from Ronny Cedeño gave catcher Josh Thole time to brace himself if the 6-2, 235-pound Quentin decided to bowl him over.
Quentin made contact mostly with Thole's glove and the ball came loose. If Thole had held on, Quentin would have been out by about 30 feet.
What happened? "You'd have to ask him," Dickey said of Thole, who was charged with an error. "It was a great relay, first off. It was well done. Andres [Torres] to Ronny to Josh. Perfect one-hop, right there. As for what happened, as far as the ball rolling away, you've got to ask him."
"Just didn't get my free hand on the ball," Thole said. "When I was reaching for it, as I was getting to the ball, I got hit." He added, "Just how you draw the play up. Outfielder hits the cut man, cut man throws a one-hopper to me. Couldn't have drawn it up any better. I just couldn't get my bare hand on the ball."
On the double by Alonso, there might have been some miscommunication between Hairston and Torres. "When I saw Scotty slide, to me that was an indication he wasn't sure where Andres was," manager Terry Collins said.
Alonso went to third on the play at the plate and scored to make it 3-1 when John Baker blooped a single to left.
The Padres scored a run in the sixth without picking up a hit off Dickey. Everth Cabrera walked on a close 3-and-2 pitch to lead off the inning, moved to second on a bunt and stole third on a delayed steal. David Wright was late covering and could only catch the ball on the run without making a tag. Cabrera scored on a sacrifice fly by Chris Denorfia.
"That is their only base-stealer, really," Dickey said. "But you don't often see a delayed steal of third base. It's very, very rare and you've got to tip your cap to him, too. He caught us napping somehow and we weren't ready."
Regarding the close 3-and-2 pitch, Dickey said, "I did think I had him. I thought I threw some strikes that weren't called strikes, but that's part of the psychology of human error. It's not always going to work out for you. You've got to try to flush it and move on to the next pitch."
The Mets outhit the Padres 9-4, with Ruben Tejada and Cedeño, who has nine RBIs in his last three starts, picking up two hits each.
The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the fourth against Clayton Richard (8-11). They had runners at first and second with two outs when Cedeño hit a ground ball through the middle. Second baseman Logan Forsythe stopped the ball behind the bag, but his flip to second sailed past shortstop Cabrera as Wright scored. Cedeño was credited with an RBI single but Hairston was thrown out trying to reach third on the play.
The Mets were coming off three wins in four games in San Francisco and had won four of their last five. "It stings a little bit because we should have won that game," Dickey said. "We've got to win games like that to compete, to have a shot at working our way back into this thing. I didn't execute a pitch or two, we had some funny plays, too, but regardless, that's a game that I think everybody in here thought we should have won."