While R.A. Dickey put up eye-popping numbers over the first half of the season, keeping things going down the stretch could prove crucial for the New York Mets .
Seeking an 11th consecutive win, Dickey tries to avenge his ugliest outing of the year Saturday afternoon when their series continues with the Atlanta Braves .
Dickey (12-1, 2.40 ERA), tagged for a season-worst eight runs and eight hits over 4 1-3 innings of a 14-6 defeat at Turner Field on April 18, hasn't lost since. The right-handed knuckleballer is 10-0 with a 1.84 ERA in his last 14 outings and capped his remarkable first half with a scoreless inning during Tuesday's All-Star game.
"I felt like I was on stage at a Broadway musical," he told the team's official website. "It was wild."
"I feel like I know what I'm doing. I feel like I have a good idea what to do with the baseball mechanically and I'm just going to try to repeat that and see what happens."
Though it's been mostly smooth sailing for Dickey, he gave up five runs in two of his final three outings before the break. He allowed five runs and a season-high 11 hits over seven innings of a 6-5 walkoff win over Philadelphia on July 5.
"He's the guy we need out there when times are tough for us," manager Terry Collins said. "He's getting us chances to win."
The Mets (46-41) could certainly use another gem from Dickey after Chris Young lasted just three innings during Friday's series-opening 7-5 loss. New York pitchers issued a season-worst 11 walks, and the Mets dropped to 8-25 when allowing at least 10 hits.
"A little frustrating," Collins said. "Eleven bases on balls, 21 baserunners, you're not going to win many games.
"We've said it many, many times: When we pitch, we have a chance to win. And when we don't pitch it's tough for us, because we don't have a lot of power."
Already without Andrelton Simmons (broken finger) for at least a month, the shorthanded Braves (47-39) lost fellow shortstop Jack Wilson to a dislocated pinkie Friday. Martin Prado moved to shortstop for the first time in four years and could be forced to play there again with Wilson day to day.
"Well, the worse-case scenario happened," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We were able to hold on. We were able to get a win with a minimal bench."
Batting .431 with two homers during a 14-game hitting streak, Jones is one RBI away from matching George Brett 's 1,596 - the most ever by a third baseman.
Tommy Hanson (10-5, 3.71), meanwhile, takes the hill for Atlanta. The right-hander has gone 5-1 with a 3.55 ERA since the beginning of June and yielded three runs and six hits over six innings of a 6-3 win at Philadelphia last Saturday.
Hanson, who surrendered five runs in seven innings of a 6-1 loss to New York on April 16, has compiled a 6.64 ERA in losing four consecutive starts in this series.
|New York Mets|
|July 11, 2012||Dillon Gee||Day-to-Day||Bloot clot in right shoulder|
|July 08, 2012||Dillon Gee||15-Day DL||Blood clot in right shoulder|
|July 03, 2012||Kirk Nieuwenhuis||Day-to-Day||Bruised right hand|
|June 23, 2012||Frank Francisco||15-Day DL||Left oblique strain|
|June 16, 2012||Jason Bay||15-Day DL||Concussion|
|June 02, 2012||Mike Baxter||15-Day DL||Displaced right collarbone|
|July 09, 2012||Andrelton Simmons||Day-to-Day||Broken right pinkie|
|July 09, 2012||Andrelton Simmons||15-Day DL||Broken right pinkie finger|
|July 08, 2012||Andrelton Simmons||Day-to-Day||Broken right pinkie|
|July 05, 2012||Jonny Venters||15-Day DL||Left elbow impingement|
|June 17, 2012||Brandon Beachy||15-Day DL||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|June 16, 2012||Brandon Beachy||Day-to-Day||Left game - Right elbow soreness|
ATLANTA (AP) -- Jason Heyward and the Atlanta Braves were patiently waiting to see if the New York Mets ' bullpen would crack.
In the eighth inning, the Braves got their wish.
"Everybody's mind was mentally tough," Heyward said. "Just hanging in there. Not trying to do too much at the plate, just trying to do whatever we could to prolong the inning, prolong the game."
Heyward singled to cap a three-run rally and the Braves took advantage after the umpires reversed a call, beating the New York Mets 8-7 Saturday for their sixth straight win.
The Braves' comeback prevented a shaky R.A. Dickey from getting his 11th win in a row. Bobby Parnell (2-2) gave up RBI singles with two outs in the eighth to Michael Bourn , Martin Prado and Heyward.
Parnell had held opponents scoreless in his previous nine appearances, but his struggles caused New York's bullpen to drop to 11-18 this season, 15-37 when allowing a run.
"This team is going to battle you the whole nine," Heyward said. "It's great to get a win, and a team win at that."
Mets manager Terry Collins was ejected while disputing a call in Atlanta's two-run fifth.
With the score 3-all and Prado on first base with one out, Heyward hit a sinking liner that left fielder Jordany Valdespin charged. Third base umpire Dale Scott, the crew chief, initially ruled Valdespin made a diving catch and Prado, who had reached second, was trapped while retreating for an apparent inning-ending double play.
But after the umpires conferred, they ruled - correctly, as replays showed - that Heyward's ball bounced. The umpires then placed Prado safely on second.
"It was the right call," Collins said.
Scott said Valdespin's body blocked his view of the attempted catch, so he initially called Heyward out.
"Immediately, I saw my partners Bill Miller and Dan Iassogna coming at me, as we're instructed to do when we have something that's completely different from what happened," Scott said. "We got together as a crew. We definitely had the ball bouncing. That's no catch, and any time that we correct an error like that, we can put the runners wherever we think they should have gone. And that's exactly what we did."
Freddie Freeman 's two-out, two-run double gave the Braves a 5-3 lead.
Dickey was furious after returning to the Mets' dugout, slamming his glove several times against the bench. His teammates bailed him out by scoring three runs in the sixth to give the Mets a 6-5 lead and put Dickey in line to earn the victory.
Dickey struggled for his second straight start. The All-Star knuckleballer allowed eight hits and two walks in five innings.
Anthony Varvaro (1-0) allowed one hit and struck out two in the eighth.
In the ninth, Braves closer Craig Kimbrel struck out Ike Davis , Daniel Murphy and pinch hitter Lucas Duda to convert his 19th straight save opportunity. Kimbrel has earned his 27 of 28 chances this season.
"Giving our closer the ball with the lead in the ninth is awesome," Heyward said. "He is. That's why it's awesome to give him the ball in the ninth inning with the lead and not have to waste him on a tie game."
Parnell gave up three hits while getting only one out. He was the third Mets pitcher of the inning, with Tim Byrdak and Pedro Beato also each being charged with a run.
Collins wasn't upset with Parnell's performance.
"He didn't make bad pitches," Collins said. "They just hit it. They hit it where nobody was standing."
Ike Davis hit his 13th homer and Andres Torres ' RBI single tied it at 3 in the fourth. The Mets got RBI singles from pinch hitter Justin Turner , Ruben Tejada and Valdespin to take a 6-5 lead in the sixth. Tejada added an RBI single in the eighth to make it 7-5.
Braves starter Tommy Hanson gave up six runs on five hits and two walks in 5 1-3 innings.
Dickey's numbers didn't look good after his exit, but Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said nothing came easily against the Mets ace.
"He gave up some runs, but I don't know that we hit the ball particularly hard against him," Gonzalez said. "In the scorebook they count as hits. But the first two hits he gave up were an infield single by Heyward, then ( Brian McCann ) blooped one in there. But we battled him and got him out of there and got into their bullpen."
NOTES: Mets star David Wright went 0 for 5 with four strikeouts. He had reached base safely in 27 straight games, which was the longest active streak in the majors. ... Dickey is 0-1 with a 12.54 ERA in two starts at Turner Field this season. ... Hanson has allowed 17 homers this year. ... Chipper Jones went 0 for 5, ending his 14-game hitting streak. ... The Braves traded for Reds SS Paul Janish during the game, sending minor league RHP Todd Redmond to Cincinnati. ... Atlanta recalled SS Tyler Pastornicky , who struck out on an eighth-inning bunt attempt, from Triple-A Gwinnett and sent catcher J.C. Boscan back to the minors. ... Prado started at shortstop for the first time since May 4, 2008.