R.A. Dickey allowed three hits over eight innings to become the major leagues’ first 12-game winner, Daniel Murphy drove in five runs and the New York Mets sent the Los Angeles Dodgers to their season-worst sixth straight loss with an 9-0 victory Saturday night.
The Dodgers’ only hit over the first 6 1-3 innings was by opposing pitcher Aaron Harang, a two-out single in the second that fell between left fielder Kirk Niewenhuis and center fielder Andres Torres after some miscommunication. A.J. Ellis singled in the seventh and Tony Gwynn Jr. doubled in the eighth.
Dickey (12-1), who had consecutive one-hitters against Tampa Bay and Baltimore during interleague play, returned to form five days after giving up five runs in six innings against the Yankees. It was the fifth scoreless outing in a span of seven starts for the 37-year-old knuckleball specialist, who struck out 10 and walked one while establishing a career high for wins.
Dickey has won 10 straight decisions in 13 starts with a 1.51 ERA since April 18. He finished June 5-0 with a 0.93 ERA.
In the second season of a two-year, $7.8 million contract, Dickey is the first starting pitcher in Mets history to begin a season 12-1 and the first to post at least 12 victories before the All-Star break since Bobby Jones in 1997. The franchise record for wins before the break is held by Tom Seaver, who was 14-5 in 1969 and 1970 going into the midsummer classic.
The injury-depleted Dodgers, missing Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Mark Ellis, were shut out for the fifth time in 11 games – including all three at San Francisco – and have produced only two runs in their last 48 innings. They are in a 1-10 tailspin that has seen them go from five games ahead in the NL West to a game behind surging San Francisco. Los Angeles led by as many as 7 1/2 games on May 27.
Harang (5-5) gave up five runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings. Three of the hits were by Ruben Tejada, who was plunked by the right-hander’s 116th and final pitch. Tejada also had an RBI single to cap a four-run seventh against rookie Shawn Tolleson.
Dickey retaliated by hitting Dee Gordon on the rear end with two outs in the sixth, eliciting a warning from plate umpire Todd Tichenor to Dickey and both dugouts. Gordon, who is generously listed at 160 pounds in the Dodgers media guide, was the fourth batter Dickey has hit this season.
The Mets grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second. David Wright, who came in 10 for 18 against Harang, fought off a 3-2 pitch in on his fists and punched an opposite-field single to right-center that drove in Torres. Tejada scored on Ike Davis’ sacrifice fly before the Mets padded their margin to 5-0 with three two-out runs in the fifth.
Lucas Duda singled home Tejada, who doubled with one out. Murphy, who struck out with the bases loaded to end the first, came through in the fifth with a two-run double and added a three-run homer in the seventh – just his third of the season. The other two came on Wednesday in a 17-1 rout of the Cubs at Wrigley field, ending a home run drought of 352 consecutive at-bats by Murphy.
NOTES: Dickey threw no more than 17 pitches in any inning and finished with 116. Harang needed 24 pitches to get out of his bases-loaded jam in the first. … The Dodgers have one home run in their last 15 games. Dickey has allowed only two homers in 82 2-3 innings over his last 10 starts, after giving up at least one in each of his first five outings and seven in 30 1-3 innings. … Davis dropped a foul popup along the first base line for the Mets’ 60th error, one fewer than the Giants’ league-worst total. But Dickey shrugged it off and struck out James Loney with his next pitch. … Johan Santana, who starts for the Mets Saturday night against Nathan Eovaldi, has held the Dodgers to just two runs over 27 2-2 innings in his four starts against them and has won all of them.