Thoughts of a sweep filled Nationals Park Thursday for the Nationals’ series finale against the New York Mets, but those ideas vanished quickly as R.A. Dickey baffled the Washington hitters on his way to his MLB-leading 9th win of the season.
Dickey (9-1), the last true knuckleball pitcher left in the Majors and a leading candidate to start the All Star Game at this point in time, pitched 7.1 scoreless innings, walking two and striking out eight. He permitted just four hits – all singles. The right-hander has been a pleasant surprise for the Mets this year, emerging as the most consistent pitcher on their staff. Today’s total extends what is now a 24.2 consecutive scoreless inning streak. Dickey was the first pitcher in the Majors to reach nine wins.
Chien-Ming Wang (1-2) lasted 5.1 innings, his longest outing on the season to date. He allowed eight hits and walked three, with just one strikeout. Both runs he permitted came in the 5th inning.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis led off with a single to center and then stole second as Josh Thole struck out. David Wright flew out to center before Lucas Duda came to the plate. The right fielder connected on a 2-1 pitch and crushed a two-run home run, his 10th on the season, to right putting the Mets ahead.
Washington’s offense once again eluded them, preventing the team from completing a series sweep against a division rival. With a series up next at Fenway Park in Boston it will be interesting to see if some of the left-handed bats start to show some signs of life, given the short porch in right field at Fenway.
Champ of the Game: Ryan Zimmerman has two of the team’s five hits on the day, including a solo home run (his 3rd) in the 9th inning to provide the team’s only run.
Not to be overlooked, Wright went 2 for 4 with a walk, triple, and a stolen base.
Chump of the Game: Harper takes the nod, going 0 for 4 with a pair of strikeouts.