Eovaldi sharp, but Marlins can't solve Dickey

Eovaldi sharp, but Marlins can't solve Dickey

Eovaldi sharp, but Marlins can't solve Dickey
MIAMI -- Once again, the Marlins were knuckled under by R.A. Dickey.

Fluttering his trademark knuckleball, Dickey dominated Miami for the fourth time in four tries this season, while Ike Davis belted a two-run homer and drove in all three runs, providing Dickey with all the support he needed to blank the Marlins, 3-0, on Friday night in front of 23,099 at Marlins Park.

Dickey (17-4), who improved to 4-0 with a 1.16 ERA against Miami this year, continues to make a National League Cy Young Award case. And the Marlins certainly wouldn't disagree, as they've been limited to four runs in 31 innings against the right-hander.

"He was outstanding. He's got us four times this year," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "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."

In two hours and seven minutes (Miami's fastest game of the season), the Marlins were shut out for the 15th time. That establishes a franchise high, passing the 14 times they were blanked in 1993 and '96.

Dickey logged his third shutout. The veteran struck out seven while allowing five hits.

"I think this was the best I've seen him throw," Guillen said. "I've seen him throw quite a bit. I think the ball was moving a lot."

Dickey has thrown back-to-back complete games against Miami. At Citi Field on Aug. 9, he gave up one run in nine innings. Donovan Solano had his 12-game hitting streak snapped Friday.

As the game progressed, Dickey felt sharper. He said he kicked it into gear about the fourth inning.

"[The knuckeball became] a little more comfortable with the mechanics," Dickey said. "Every night you're kind of dealt a hand and you got to play it that night. I didn't get a great feel for it to start the game -- it was moving, just not like I was accustomed to. It was moving off barrels and they were hitting pieces of it. As the night went on, I was getting big swings and movement like I'm accustomed to getting, and it was good. I was able to change speeds with it. I walked a few too many guys tonight, but overall, obviously I'm satisfied."

Dickey's gem overshadowed what was the strongest start for Nathan Eovaldi since he was obtained from the Dodgers on July 25 in the Hanley Ramirez trade. The right-hander allowed three runs in a seven innings, his longest outing since the trade. The seven innings by the rookie matched his season high, done previously on May 29 against the Brewers.

"I felt a lot better today," said Eovaldi, who allowed six runs in three innings at Los Angeles in his previous start. "I really had command of all of my pitches today. I was just trying to go out there and not do too much. Be relaxed and attack the strike zone."

At Los Angeles, Eovaldi was roughed up, allowing three home runs in three innings. On Friday, he basically trusted his stuff and threw strikes.

Of his 85 pitches, 60 were strikes, and he walked just one.

"It was really just mentally going out there and trying not to do too much," Eovaldi said. "Knowing that good is good enough. Trust yourself and go out there and attack."

The first hit of the game came in the third inning, when Justin Ruggiano lined a two-out single to center off Dickey.

Miami actually outhit New York, 5-4. Eovaldi had one of them, a single to left off Dickey.

"He threw me a fastball. I think that helped," Eovaldi said.

Before slapping the fastball into left field for a hit, Eovaldi took a knuckleball.

"He threw me one on a 1-1 count on my second at-bat, and it came in just swirling," Eovaldi said. "So I was taking all the way. Saw no spin. No thank you."

Eovaldi held the Mets without a baserunner until the fourth inning. But New York was able to break through then. Ruben Tejada opened the inning with a single, and he moved to third on Daniel Murphy's single to center. With one out, Davis lifted a sacrifice fly to center.

Davis belted a two-run homer in the seventh inning, giving the left-handed slugger 25 on the season. The pitch to Davis was a hanging curveball, and the slugger made Eovaldi pay.

"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 Marlins didn't have many threats, but when they did, Dickey was able to execute. In the eighth inning, he stranded runners on second and third when Carlos Lee lifted a flyout to center.

"We had a few opportunities and we couldn't get it done," Guillen said. "We hit a couple of balls right at people. We hit the ball hard. I won't say a lot. [Dickey] was outstanding today."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.