NEW YORK (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals believe they are one inning away from an offensive outburst. They’ve been there ever since they arrived in New York.
R.A. Dickey followed up Johan Santana’s no-hitter by shutting out the Cardinals and David Wright homered to help the New York Mets win 5-0 on Saturday, stifling St. Louis for a second time in 24 hours to start a four-game wraparaound series.
Cardinals starter Lance Lynn allowed five hits and two earned runs in 4 2-3 innings, leaving with the score 3-0 and runners on second and third. Lynn (8-2) walked four and struck out three, losing for the second time in four decisions since starting the season with six straight wins.
“Dickey pitched great, I was not able to match him today. That is my job and I did not accomplish it,” Lynn said. “This offense, it takes just one inning for them to explode.”
They mostly fizzled on Saturday.
Dickey (8-1) gave up seven hits, struck out nine and walked none in his third career shutout — first this season. The Mets scored three runs in the second, on a mishandled grounder and two run-scoring groundouts to win for the sixth time in eight games.
Carlos Beltran got the Cardinals’ first hit of the series, a clean double against Dickey in the second inning — a day after he hit a shot down the line that looked fair but was ruled foul against Santana. The Cardinals have lost four straight and seven of nine.
“We will get it going here,” Cardinals infielder Daniel Descalso said. “We just need to bounce back and make some adjustments.”
Dickey gave up a bunt single to Rafael Furcal and a line-drive to Descalso to begin the ninth, but Matt Holliday hit into a 6-4-3 double play and Beltran flied out to right field to end the game in a brisk 2 hours, 34 minutes.
“Knuckleball is not an easy pitch to bunt, hit, or hit to the opposite field,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “You have to put together a good swing at what you see in the zone.”
The reborn knuckleballer who was almost out of baseball before committing to the pitch and remaking his career, baffled the Cardinals all day, getting swinging strikes and weakly hit grounders.
Cardinals hitters swung and missed repeatedly at the fluttering pitch. Dickey ended the fifth inning by throwing four straight knuckleballs to Adams, then getting him to swing at a fastball.
Omar Quintanilla put an even bigger exclamation point on the seventh inning, when he dived to his left to get a hot grounder from Yadier Molina. The shortstop then popped to his feet, spun, and fired to first, prompting a big fist pump from Dickey, who was already striding off the mound. Dickey struck out the side in the eighth to put himself on the cusp of three straight games with double-digit strikeouts.
As it is, he has 30 Ks — with one walk — in his last three starts.
The Mets got all the scoring they needed in the second, though Daniel Murphy added a run in the seventh when Eduardo Sanchez threw a wild pitch while Dickey batted.
“Some balls slip through,” Matheny said. “Some plays that are normally made that were not.”
Ike Davis led off the second with a single and Quintanilla was hit by a pitch. Josh Thole loaded the bases on an infield single before Dickey reached out and tapped a ball to second base. Descalso fielded it, stumbled and dropped it.
“I just lost it, that’s it,” he said.
Once Descalso got the ball back, he rushed his throw to first, where Matt Adams dropped it for an error that allowed Dickey to reach and gave the pitcher a rare RBI. Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit a grounder to Adams, and Andres Torres grounded out to shortstop before Wright ended the inning with a grounder of his own.
NOTES: After highlights of his no-hitter from the night before were played on the scoreboard, Santana stepped out of the Mets dugout and tipped his cap as fans gave him a warm hand before the game started. … Cardinals RHP Jake Westbrook is set to start Sunday night’s game against lefty Jonathon Niese. … Adams was nowhere near the first base bag when LF Holliday uncorked a throw that advanced two runners in the fifth inning, and was removed via double switch when Cardinals manager Mike Matheny pulled Lynn.