R.A. goes distance vs. Fish again, wins No. 17

R.A. goes distance vs. Fish again, wins No. 17

R.A. goes distance vs. Fish again, wins No. 17
MIAMI -- R.A. Dickey made another stop on his National League Cy Young Award campaign trail Friday night at Marlins Park.

The knuckleballer threw a five-hit, seven-strikeout shutout, and Ike Davis drove in all three runs to power the Mets past the Marlins, 3-0, and help Dickey earn his 17th win of the season.

"I don't know how many complete games that is or shutouts for him, but his numbers have been racked up pretty impressive right now," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "I'm running out of things to say about him. He threw some knuckleballs tonight that nobody is going to hit."

The win tied Dickey with Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto and Washington's Gio Gonzalez for most in the Majors, and it made him the first Mets pitcher to notch 17 victories in a season since Al Leiter in 1998. Four of Dickey's 17 wins have come against the Marlins, and two of them have been complete games. He is 4-0 with a 1.16 ERA in four starts against Miami this season.

Friday marked Dickey's NL-leading fifth complete game, the most by a Mets pitcher in a single season since 1993 -- when Dwight Gooden tossed seven of them -- and his third shutout of the year.

Collins believes the knuckleballer's body of work is deserving of the NL Cy Young Award this season.

"Sure, I hope for it," Dickey said. "What pitcher doesn't, what little kid doesn't -- as he grows up -- want to be a Cy Young Award winner? Obviously the hope is inside me, but at the same time, I've got to be able to hold that hope and hold the job at hand."

On Friday, the task at hand was the Marlins, and Dickey made quick work of them, finishing off the game in two hours and seven minutes. He said his knuckleball wasn't where he wanted it to be in the early innings, but it gained life somewhere around the fourth.

The Marlins only got one runner past second base against the 37-year-old righty, and Dickey allowed runners to get into scoring position just three times. 

"He was outstanding," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "He's got us four times this year. Make sure when he gives the speech in the Cy Young Award that he mentions the Marlins, please. We'd appreciate that, trying to help him win the Cy Young. ... I think this was the best I've seen him throw."

After Dickey surrendered a two-out walk in the third to Bryan Petersen, Justin Ruggiano singled. But Dickey struck out Jose Reyes to escape the jam. Miami again got two aboard in the fourth, this time with one out, before Dickey got Donovan Solano to bounce into an inning-ending double play to third base.

Dickey's closest call came in the eighth, when he issued another leadoff walk. Ruggiano hit a one-out single to put two aboard, but Reyes bounced into a fielder's choice and Carlos Lee flied out to center to strand runners on the corners.

"I was able to make big pitches with runners in scoring position to a couple of their better hitters, whether it was Jose or Carlos Lee -- and those guys are good," Dickey said. "Because my numbers are good against them, that doesn't always mean it's going to end up like that.

"Any team that's out there is capable of beating [the knuckeball] if you don't bring it."

While Dickey kept the Marlins off balance all night, New York had trouble figuring out Miami pitcher Nathan Eovaldi the first time through the order, as the righty was perfect through three innings.

The second time around, though, the Mets adjusted, and Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy led off the fourth with back-to-back, first-pitch singles to put runners on the corners. After David Wright lined out to second, where Solano made a leaping grab, Davis drove a ball to center field, allowing Tejada to tag up from third for the game's first run.

Davis struck again in the seventh with his 25th home run of the season -- a two-run shot off Eovaldi. Wright led off the frame with a single before Davis launched a 2-1 offering 375 feet to right field to give New York a three-run advantage. Eighteen of Davis' 25 dingers this season have come on the road.

"That one was the main one I'd like to have back," Eovaldi said. "I just didn't finish the curveball. I left it right there, down the middle on a 2-1 count. He crushed it."

The three runs were enough support for Dickey, who is three wins away from the 20-win mark with just more than a month left in the season. While he hopes to reach that plateau, the knuckleballer isn't distracted by it as he continues to try to take it one start at a time.

"Everybody is different," Dickey said, "but I've found that when I don't live in the moment, it doesn't work out well for R.A., so here I am."

Tom Green is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.