R.A. Dickey was concerned with only one number after befuddling another team with his knuckleball.
Dickey pitched a complete game for his 15th victory, stopping Jose Reyes’ 26-game hitting streak in the process and helping the New York Mets end their nine-game home skid with a 6-1 win Thursday over the Miami Marlins.
”That nine-game streak that was stopped today is more important than the 15 wins,” said Dickey, who allowed five hits and struck out 10.
Dickey (15-3) turned in his third straight stellar outing – he allowed only two earned runs combined in his previous two starts – after going through a monthlong rough patch. He was 12-1 at the All-Star break but just 2-2 in six starts afterward. That leveling off coincided with the Mets’ fall from the NL wild card race.
Pitching in 89-degree heat, perfect weather for his fluttery pitch, Dickey threw his fourth complete game of the year and eighth of his career.
”He’s got the feel for it back, again,” manager Terry Collins said. ”All I can tell you is I hope the next eight starts are like this one.”
Collins was prepared to ride his ace down the stretch, pitching Dickey on three days’ rest, but he said that is not a consideration since the Mets have gone from 46-40 at the break to 54-58 after Thursday’s win.
Dickey agrees with his manager.
”I would not want to be on three days’ rest purely to win games,” Dickey said. ”If we got a shot I’m willing to do it.”
Other than Justin Ruggiano, who homered off Dickey in the fourth to tie it 1-all, the Marlins had little success against a pitcher who became a first-time All-Star at 37 years old.
Reyes went 0 for 4, twice stranding runners on third base, ending the longest hitting streak of his career and the best in the majors this season.
”Nothing close, nothing close,” Reyes said.
Andres Torres homered, tripled and doubled, and drove in the go-ahead run after Reyes lost a popup in the sun.
Struggling in his first season with the Mets, Torres homered off Josh Johnson (7-8) in the sixth and got an RBI triple in the eighth after umpires went to replay to review whether the ball had left the park.
”If that swing’s back, we’re going to score a lot more runs,” Collins said.
Torres’ double in the fourth made it 2-1 and came two outs after David Wright’s shallow fly to left field hit off Reyes’ upper body and skittered away for a double.
Josh Thole hit a pair of RBI singles and Wright added another for the Mets. New York scored four of its runs with two outs in winning at home for the first time since July 7.
Thole came up in the second with a runner in scoring position after the Mets went 0 for 10 in that situation the night before. He slapped a soft single to left field for the early lead against Johnson, New York’s nemesis.
Johnson came in 8-1 with a 2.59 ERA in 15 starts against the Mets, but the Marlins ace was no match for Dickey. Johnson allowed eight hits and three runs in six innings after giving up just two runs in his previous three starts.
The Mets retook the lead in the fourth when Wright led off with a high fly to shallow left. Reyes ranged back from shortstop but lost the ball in the blazing afternoon sun, turning away as the ball deflected off him for a double. Fans who’ve booed the former Mets star since he left for Miami in the offseason gave the play a rousing cheer.
”It’s embarrassing, of course,” Reyes said. ”I had it and the last moment the ball got in the sun.”
Two outs later, Torres doubled before adding his second homer of the season in the sixth. The beleaguered center fielder, hitting .239 coming in, reached base all four times Thursday.
His drive in the eighth hit off the orange line at the top of the wall in right field. Umpires went to the video room to see if it hit above the line and the play stood. Jordany Valdespin had reached on first baseman Carlos Lee’s error to start the inning.
Lee singled leading off the second to extend his hitting streak to 14 games. Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada also extended his hitting streak to 14.
NOTES: Marlins 2B Nick Green threw his bat into the Miami dugout while flailing at a knuckleball in the second inning. Seconds after it disappeared into the dugout, it was hurled back onto the field, drawing laughs from fans. … Marlins OF Logan Morrison (right knee inflammation) was advised by Dr. Richard Steadman in Colorado to rest for three weeks and then do rehab instead of surgery. Morrison will be reevaluated in three weeks. … The band MercyMe will play a concert after the Mets and Braves play Friday night. Matt Harvey (1-2) is scheduled to make his first home start for New York. Paul Maholm (9-7) pitches for Atlanta. … After the game, Mets LHP Tim Byrdak said he would have season-ending surgery to repair a torn capsule in his shoulder.