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Mets' knuckler Dickey stymies Phils

 

Flushing, NY (Sports Network) – R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball danced in and out of trouble through six shutout frames, as New York blanked the NL East-leading Phillies, 8-0, in the first of three games at Citi Field.

Dickey (1-0) allowed 10 baserunners but slipped out of two bases-loaded jams, struck out a career-best seven and walked three while yielding seven hits. Dickey was the second straight knuckleball hurler to befuddle the Phillies, who were blanked over eight innings by Boston’s Tim Wakefield on Sunday. Raul Valdes pitched the final three frames to earn his first major-league save.

Jason Bay continued his torrid stretch with a pair of RBIs and Jeff Francoeur, batting eighth while mired in a massive slump, broke out with two hits, two runs batted in and a run scored. Jose Reyes triggered it all with three hits, an RBI and three runs scored. The Mets have won three straight.

Jamie Moyer (5-4) absorbed the loss, giving up four runs on seven hits with a pair of walks over five innings. Placido Polanco had three hits, while Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez each had two hits in defeat, the club’s third in a row. The Phillies have been outscored, 21-3, during the three-game stretch.

The first three frames were as much about Philadelphia’s missed opportunities as New York’s ability to push several runs across. The first came in the home first as Reyes singled, moved to second on a Luis Castillo bunt, stole third and scored on Bay’s groundout.

The Phillies loaded the bases in the second on three consecutive singles with nobody out. Then, Carlos Ruiz chopped the ball back to Dickey, who started a 1-2-3 double play. After a Juan Castro walk, Moyer struck out swinging.

In the third, the visitors again filled the bases with Polanco (safe on a fielder’s choice), Howard (single) and Jayson Werth (walk) before Ibanez hit a soft liner to Reyes.

In-between the scoring threats, the Mets pushed across another run on Francoeur’s RBI single to left in the second. Again, Francoeur was in the middle of the action in the fourth, as David Wright reached second on a double that fell between Shane Victorino and Chase Utley, moved to third on a fly out by Rod Barajas and scored on the beleaguered outfielder’s sacrifice fly to center.

Reyes ignited the offense again in the fifth, reaching on a bunt single, stealing second, moving to third on a groundout and scoring easily on Bay’s single to left-center field. Francoeur was the one scoring in the sixth, as he doubled and came around to score on Chris Carter’s single to center for a 5-0 edge.

Philadelphia continued its futility with runners in scoring position during the seventh, as Utley and Howard struck out and Werth grounded out to squander a second-and-third, no-out opportunity.

The Mets tacked on three eighth-inning runs on an RBI double by the pitcher Valdes, a run-scoring triple by Reyes and a bloop single to left by Castillo.

Game Notes

With Moyer and Dickey on the mound, 144 of 207 pitches were under 80 miles per hour…Moyer dropped to 9-6 lifetime versus the Mets…The Phillies left 13 men on base…Reyes stole his 10th and 11th bases of the season…Attendance 33,026.