NEW YORK (AP) — R.A. Dickey struck out 10 and reached double digits for strikeouts in consecutive games for the first time in his career and the New York Mets held the punchless San Diego Padres scoreless for the second straight day, 2-0 Sunday.
Dickey (7-1) struck out 11 Pirates on Tuesday. He is the first Mets pitcher to have back-to-back games with at least 10 Ks since Pedro Martinez did it in May 2006.
Johan Santana pitched a four-hitter Saturday. He and Dickey combined in August 2010 for New York’s last set of shutouts. Dickey needed a bit of help to finish this one. Tim Byrdak got two outs to finish the eighth and Frank Francisco pitched the ninth for his 13th save in 15 chances.
Daniel Murphy had an RBI single and Mike Baxter scored on a passed ball as the Mets took advantage of a wild Edinson Volquez (2-5).
New York won three of four over San Diego to move six games over .500 for the first time since July 18, 2010. Starting Monday, the Mets will play eight straight series against teams with records over .500 entering Sunday.
The Padres won the opener of the series, scoring a season-high 11 runs. But in the final three they had only one run and 11 hits. With 13 players on the disabled list and outfielder Cameron Maybin sidelined since Saturday with a sore wrist, San Diego has lost six of seven on its 10-game road trip.
The Mets brought back Banner Day for the first time since 1996 as part of their season-long 50th anniversary celebration. Several signs asked for Dickey to throw the Mets’ first no-hitter. Yonder Alonso dashed those hopes with two outs in the first, but, boy, Dickey was good.
The quirky right-hander walked to the mound to Darth Vader’s “Imperial March” before the first pitch and then was ruthless with his knuckleball. He struck out the first two Padres — Everth Cabrera was not able to hold onto his bat as he flailed at strike three. Cabrera didn’t even bother swinging at the third strike his second time up.
The Padres got a hit in each of the first two innings then went hitless until Jesus Guzman doubled with one out in the seventh — their second extra-base hit after Thursday’s win. Guzman then got thrown out trying to steal third base.
Dickey gave up three hits, walked one and hit a batter in 7 1-3 innings.
Taking advantage of Volquez’s wildness in the first, the Mets added to their major league-leading total of runs scored with two outs. After retiring the first two batters, Volquez walked David Wright. Wright stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch on ball four to Lucas Duda. Murphy then lined a single to right-center for the lead.
Volquez needed 75 pitches to get through the first three innings but New York had little success against him.
The Mets had runners on first and third with one out in the second and failed to score. In the fifth, Baxter doubled, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a passed ball.
Turner singled with two outs in the fifth, ending Volquez’s day after 109 pitches. The 28-year-old right-hander allowed five hits and two runs. He struck out five and walked three.
NOTES: Padres OF Carlos Quentin could join the team in Chicago for a series that begins Monday, manager Bud Black said. Quentin had right knee surgery in mid-march and hasn’t played yet this season. … About a dozen members of the Ivy League champion Cornell baseball team visited with Black before the game. Padres hitting coach Phil Plantier’s son Ryan is on the team. … Mets C Josh Thole (concussion) is scheduled to play in an extended spring game on Monday.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)