Updated at 12:17 a.m., Oct. 3, 2012
MIAMI (AP) — New York Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey’s best season yet ended with a no-decision and some surprising news: He’ll have surgery Oct. 18.
After pitching six innings in a 4-3, 11-inning loss to the Miami Marlins, Dickey revealed he has pitched since mid-April with a strained muscle on the right side of his abdomen. Following the operation, Dickey said, he expects to be ready for the start of spring training.
“The pain can be fairly significant from time to time,” he said. “It’s part of this game, playing with aches and scrapes and bruises and tears. It happened early this year, but we were able to work through it.”
Dickey struck out one-shot wonder Adam Greenberg but also gave up two homers in his final start of a Cy Young-hopeful season. He said the injury bothered him more than in earlier outings.
“I just felt we would keep trucking through,” he said. “I guess the timing is fortuitous in that the significant pain I’m feeling now I hadn’t felt before. But tonight it was hard to catch my breath sometimes. It’s obvious it needs to be taken care of.”
Greenberg fanned on three pitches when he batted for the first time in seven years in the sixth inning. He signed a one-day contract before the game, his first since he was beaned in his major league debut in 2005.
“I think the story far transcends the result of the at-bat,” Dickey said. “It was important for me and him to treat him like a big-leaguer.”
Dickey had beaten the Marlins in eight consecutive starts over the past two seasons, including five this year. He struck out eight to increase his NL-leading total to 230, and ended the season at 20-6 with an ERA of 2.73.
Donovan Solano hit a game-winning, bases-loaded one-out single off Collin McHugh (0-4).
Dickey left trailing 3-0, and manager Terry Collins said he could tell the injury
was a factor.
“It hasn’t bothered him,” Collins said. “Today he said it felt fine, then he aggravated it in the second inning. He said he still could go pitch.
“You could tell in the fifth he had a limp to his gait. He said, `I’ll give you as much as I can give you.”‘
The Mets rallied with three runs in the eighth to tie the game. After Marlins rookie Jacob Turner allowed one run in 7 2-3 innings, beleaguered former All-Star Heath Bell helped blow their lead.
Jose Reyes tripled off McHugh to start the 11th. Giancarlo Stanton and Carlos Lee were intentionally walked, and after Rob Brantly struck out, Solano grounded a single up the middle.
Solano struck out in his previous four at-bats.
New York scored three times after Bell entered the game with two out in the eighth. David Wright hit an RBI single, a wild pitch scored another run and Scott Hairston followed with an infield single to drive in the tying run.
Bell, who has come to symbolize the Marlins’ disappointing season, then departed to jeers from the crowd.
With the score 3-all, the Mets’ Andres Torres tripled in the ninth. But Jordany Valdespin and Ruben Tejada struck out against Steve Cishek. New York loaded the bases in the 10th before Josh Thole struck out against Ryan Webb to end the threat.
Gorkys Hernandez and Brantly each hit his third homer for Miami. Chad Gaudin (4-2), who had been scheduled to start the season finale Wednesday, pitched a perfect 11th inning.
Turner, one of the few bright spots for the underachieving Marlins, allowed only three hits and two walks and lowered his ERA to 3.38. He made seven starts after being acquired from Detroit in late July and is expected to contend for a spot in the rotation next year.
“He’s throwing the ball well,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “He’s got a shot to make the ballclub next year.”
Notes: Before the game, Marlins INF Nick Green was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. … Dickey has given up 24 homers, the most on the Mets’ staff. … Marlins rookie Tom Koehler will make his first career start in Wednesday’s season finale against Jeremy Hefner.
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