NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — R.A. Dickey baffled the Diamondbacks with his knuckleball, pitching shutout ball into the ninth inning to lead the New York Mets over Arizona 3-1 Sunday.
Dickey now takes his record to 4-1 on the season. He allowed four hits in eight-plus innings, struck out four and walked four, coming within three outs of what would have been his third career shutout.
Gerardo Parra, who had two of Arizona’s four hits, drew a leadoff walk in the ninth and scored on Justin Upton’s double. After Dickey left to a standing ovation, Jason Kubel flied out to the left-field warning track against Tim Byrdak.
Paul Goldschmidt struck out against Frank Francisco in a nine-pitch at-bat and Miguel Montero flied out to the right-field warning track. Francisco earned his seventh save in eight chances.
His socks pulled high in the old style, Dickey retired his first 10 batters before giving up an opposite-field double off the end of the bat to Parra, a ball that dropped just fair and a few inches from the glove of sliding left fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis.
Parra, celebrating his 25th birthday, also lined a single to right in the sixth and then was picked off.
Dickey, an older 37-year-old right-hander, didn’t allow a leadoff batter to reach until Cody Ransom grounded a single to left in the eighth.
Arizona manager Kirk Gibson inserted Willie Bloomquist and John McDonald into his starting lineup because they had success against the knuckleball, calling the pitch “maybe a cross between playing regular baseball and slo-pitch softball.”
“I remember when I first faced Charlie Hough, somebody said move up in the box,” Gibson recalled. “So I went up and scratched the front line of the box out, and moved up there, and he hit me.”
It didn’t help. Bloomquist was 0-for-3 with a walk against Dickey. McDonald also went 0-for-3.
Trevor Cahill (2-3) pitched well, allowing three runs and five hits in seven innings. Two pitches got him in trouble, both off fastballs with two outs. Daniel Murphy hit a two-run single in the first and Josh Thole had an RBI single in the fifth.
Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada left in the fifth inning after straining his right quadriceps and falling at first base while running out a bunt single.
NOTES: Mets manager Terry Collins said RHP Chris Young, recovering from shoulder surgery last May, will make his first minor league start of the year Thursday for St. Lucie in the Florida State League. Collins anticipates Young will be ready for the major league team by late May. … Mets RHP D.J. Carrasco, activated from the disabled list following a sprained ankle, said he wants to “redeem myself.” … New York OF Jason Bay (broken rib) isn’t close to being ready for a rehab assignment. … Mets 1B Ike Davis did a 360 when leaning into the dugout unsuccessfully trying to catch Bloomquist’s sixth-inning pop.
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