Mets

R.A. Dickey Becomes First To 18 Wins As Mets Top Cardinals In Series Finale

R.A. Dickey (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

R.A. Dickey (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

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ST. LOUIS (CBSNewYork/AP) — R.A. Dickey had more than enough to hold off the St. Louis Cardinals and become the first pitcher in the Majors to reach 18 wins this season.

He didn’t have his best stuff, but still managed to strengthen his case in the National League Cy Young Award race.

Dickey was backed by Ike Davis’ three-run homer that powered the New York Mets to a 6-2 victory over the Cardinals on Wednesday.

The knuckleballer allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings en route to his 18th win, the first Mets pitcher to reach the mark since Frank Viola (20-12) and Dwight Gooden (19-7) both did it in 1990. Dickey (18-4) gave up eight hits and struck out five to help New York salvage the finale of the three-game series.

“It was a battle for me,” Dickey said. “I didn’t really have a great feel for (the knuckleball) early on. I threw a couple of more fastballs than I ordinarily would have. I’m pleased with the results, but obviously I have a little bit of work to do.”

Dickey should have five more starts as he tries to become a 20-game winner, which would further bolster his Cy Young resume. Considering where Dickey was just a few years ago — in the Minors trying to refine his knuckleball — Mets manager Terry Collins said it has been an incredible journey.

“The whole story of what he’s had to go through to get where he is today is truly one of the great stories of sports,” Collins said. “I’m thrilled. I hope he wins (the Cy Young). But if he doesn’t, he’s certainly had a storybook season.”

For now, Dickey says he is focusing simply on getting win No. 19, but he can’t help think about reaching 20, too.

“Obviously, I hope for that,” Dickey said. “I hope to win beyond 20. As far as getting to that plateau, it would be really satisfying, I think.”

Davis gave the Mets a 5-1 lead with his 26th homer and Daniel Murphy went 3-for-4 to lift his average in day games to an NL-best .351 (65 for 185). Josh Thole and Andres Torres had RBI singles, and Lucas Duda drove in the Mets’ other run with a bases-loaded walk.

The Mets did most of their damage off of Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright (13-12), who allowed five runs and eight hits in five innings.

“I’d say he wasn’t as sharp as he would like to be,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. “His game revolves around establishing his fastball, and he just didn’t have that tight fastball command today.”

However, Wainwright delivered the Cardinals’ first run when he led off the third inning with a home run against Dickey. It was Wainwright’s first homer of the season but the sixth in his Major League career.

Former first-round pick Shelby Miller was much more effective for the Cardinals. Making his Major League debut, Miller struck out four batters in two innings of scoreless relief, including fanning the side in the seventh.

After Wainwright’s homer cut the Mets’ advantage to 2-1, New York stretched its lead in the fifth on Davis’ shot.

Mike Baxter led off with a single and went to third one out later on Murphy’s single. They scored on Davis’ drive over the right-field fence.

NOTES: Kyle Lohse (14-2) will seek to match Ted Wilkes, who started 15-2 in 1944, for the best start to a season for a Cardinals pitcher when he faces the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday. … Dickey’s ERA of 2.64 is second in the NL to Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto (2.58). … The crowd of 30,090 was the smallest of the season in St. Louis. … The game ended on a 9-4-6 double play when Adron Chambers was called out for failing to retouch second base as he retreated to first on Yadier Molina’s fly ball to right.

R.A. Dickey continues to build that resume for his Cy Young candidacy. Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)