Dickey and Davis Lead the Way in 4-0 Victory over Cardinals

New York – Starting pitcher R.A. Dickey went a season-high eight and one-thirds innings, giving up only four hits to help the New York Mets (52-50) blank the St. Louis Cardinals (56-46) by the score of 4-0 in afternoon baseball at Citi Field on Thursday.

Dickey (7-4) was able to stretch his scoreless streak this afternoon, to a career-best 17.0 consecutive innings, which dates back to the fifth inning of his start on July 20th at Arizona. Along with stretching his scoreless streak Dickey helped to lead the Mets to their major-league leading 14th shutout of the year.

It was noticed by Dickey along with young catcher Josh Thole saw that sometimes the knuckleball wasn’t going to always make the other team swing and miss, so instead today the two were able to have a game plan which kept the Cardinals off balance.

Mets manager Jerry Manuel was impressed with how the starter could recognize that saying, “Yes, especially for a pitch like the knuckleball, which is difficult to tell what direction it is going to go, even for the catcher. He and Josh have worked very well together to identify what makes them successful.”

Thole who has had the opportunity to catch Dickey in Triple-A affiliate Buffalo noticed one change in the starter, “His secondary pitches make the difference.  It helps to have those secondary pitches and he has really worked on them and it has made him a more successful pitcher.”

“I tried to change speeds and was able to keep them (the Cardinals off balance today,” Dickey said of his start. “The trend for anytime a pitcher has a shutout is when that pitcher has command of the strike zone and I was able to do that today.”

For St. Louis starter Blake Hawksworth was the recipient of a tough loss in this afternoon’s game (4-7) going six innings, giving up seven hits and four runs along with three walks and three strike outs.

In a game which featured many ground balls along with some fine defensive plays neither team was able to get on the board until the bottom of the third inning. Jose Reyes got the Mets going by ripping a double (18) to right field. Reyes was able to extend his hitting streak to 10 games, which dates to July 19th 2010. Outfielder Angel Pagan followed with a ground ball infield single, which thanks to his speed he was able to beat out and set the stage for rookie sensation Ike Davis.

Davis lifted the first pitch in his at bat over the Nikon sign in center field for his 15th home run of the season, and gave the Mets a comfortable 3-0 lead. For Davis, who had a day off in yesterday’s game,  the 15 homers are the fifth-most by a Mets rookie in franchise history, holding the overall record is the future Met Hall of Famer Darryl Strawberry with 26 in 1983.

On being able to provide clutch hitting in his first year with the club Davis said, “It is all about the confidence you have as a hitter, you need to be able to go up to the plate and have confidence in your swing. You can have that exact same swing but if you don’t have confidence it won’t go very far.” The first baseman continues by saying, “If I hit it well enough I expect the ball to go out of the park. If I am able to get the barrel of the bat to center or to right, I know for sure it will go out. I just wanted to stay through it and not roll it over.”

Dickey would continue to keep the Cardinals guessing in the top of the fifth inning. One huge ground out was when second baseman Skip Schumaker to hit into a infield double play, along with getting  Yadier Molina to hit into another ground out on a nice backhanded play by rookie Mike Hessman, who was playing third base for New York in the game. Hessman looked good making two nice backhanded grabs in the hot corner in this afternoon’s game.

The Mets would get on the board one last time in the bottom of the fifth inning as Angel Pagan ripped a triple (7) to the right field crevice. Center fielder Carlos Beltran would plate that fourth New York run by lacing a single to left field to give New York the 4-0 lead.

“I am good to go and I just want to be out there and help the team win,” Beltran said after the game. “The main thing for me is that I need to come into the ballpark before the game and do my pre-game routine, which started in St. Lucie, and it will be something that stays with me for the rest of my career.”

Ground balls would continue to greet the Mets infielders as Dickey would induce seven alone in the later innings to keep the Cardinals off the board. In the top of the eighth inning the starter found some trouble as the rain started to come down as Schumaker hit a single to right field to try to start the Cardinals offense, a wild pitch placed the runner on second for pitch hitter Randy Winn. Dickey was able to get out of trouble by getting a hard hit ground ball to Alex Cora to end the inning.

“It is great for us to play behind Dickey,” Davis said after the game. “It is hard sometimes when the pitchers throw the balls outside the strike zone then we stay on your heels a little, but Dickey works so fast and he keeps us on our toes.”

New York would try to add one last run in the bottom of the eighth as Hessman was hit in the shoulder by Cardinal reliever Mike MacDougal. Jose Thole worked a walk to have runners on first and second for Jeff Francoeur. Unfortunately for the 40,087 the outfielder hit a high pop up to first base for the first out. Alex Cora worked a walk, before Dickey hit into a fielder’s choice for the second out. The bases were loaded for Jose Reyes, who hit a hard ground ball for the final out of the inning.

Top of the ninth inning was greeted by a huge cheer as Dickey took the hill to close out the game. Pinch hitter Colby Rasmus singled to center for the fourth St. Louis hit. Felipe Lopez advanced Rasmus on a ground ball to Ike Davis for the first out. A walk to rookie Jon Jay placed runners on first and second for the dangerous duo of Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday. Dickey would not find out how he would have fared against the two big bats as manager Jerry Manuel called for reliever Francisco Rodriguez who got the last two outs and sealed the 4-0 victory for New York.

“This is one of those wins that you point too and hope that it can turn your season around, “Dickey said. “Yesterday was a heartbreaker, but we had no time to think about it. Today you really saw the character of this team and we really have a shot until the end of the season.”

The Mets will now open a three game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks as righty Mike Pelfrey (10-5, 4.00 ERA) takes on Ian Kennedy (5-8, 4.10 ERA) in a 7:10 p.m. Friday night game at Citi Field.

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Trade News: The National League East got a whole lot tougher today as the Philadelphia Phillies acquired Roy Oswalt in a trade with the Houston Astros in exchange for pitcher J.A. Happ and minor league prospects Jonathan Villar and Anthony Gose.

Story originally posted on www.latinosports.com

Posted under Baseball, Blake Hawksworth, Buffalo, Fifth Inning, Game Plan, Ground Balls, Josh Thole, Knuckleball, Major League, New York Mets, Pitch, Pitches, Recipient, Scoreless Streak, Shutout, St Louis Cardinals, Starting Pitcher, Strike Zone, Top Story, Victory, Walks

This post was written by Stacy Rae Podelski on July 30, 2010

Rayburn and Ordonez Hit Homers to Help the Tigers Edge Mets, 6-5

New York – In a nail biting game at Citi Field on Thursday evening the Detroit Tigers (38-32) defeated the New York Mets (41-30) by the score of 6-5. Despite the loss the Mets were still able to take two-of-three games from one of the American League Central’s best teams.

Mets starter Hisanori Takashi (6-3) could not command the plate today in the loss going 4 innings plus four batters, the lefty gave up eight hits, six runs and four walks while also striking out four batters. Tigers’ starter Armando Galarraga (3-1) pitched well in six innings giving up five hits, four runs, and three walks and striking out one batter. Galarraga looked like he would have another no-hitter but the Mets spoiled his plans in the bottom of the fourth inning.

“The important thing for him (Takashi) is his command” Mets manager Jerry Manuel told reporters after the game. “Overall he has pitched well for us, today though it was just the walks and some hard hit balls, but overall he has pitched well for us.”

Magglio Ordonez had a great day at the plate for the Tigers going 2-for-5 and driving in three runs with two of those runs coming on a long home run to left field. Also having a good day at the plate was Ryan Rayburn who was 3-for-3 with one RBI, while hitting a homer as well.  For the Mets David Wright went 2-for-5 with one RBI, while Jason Bay and Ike Davis also contributed with an RBI each.

The Tigers plated their first run in the top of the first inning as leadoff hitter Austin Jackson worked a walk. Rayburn ripped a single to left field to set up runners on first and second for Magglio Ordonez. During Ordonez’s at bat Jackson and Rayburn would steal second and third to have runners in scoring position for the visitors. The duo of Jackson and Rayburn has now swiped 10 consecutive bags against the Mets without being caught. Ordonez could not cash in as Takahashi got him to strike out swinging. Miguel Cabrera was able to plate the first run one batter later as he lifted a sacrifice fly to center field making the score 1-0 Tigers.

Ryan Raburn would work a walk to start top of the third inning, this was when Ordonez lifted his 10th home run of the season making the score 3-0 in favor of Detroit.

The perfect game was spoilt for the Tigers in the top of the fourth inning as Jesus Feliciano picking up the first double of his career, which was hit over the left fielders reach. David Wright kept the inning alive with a single to left field. Ike Davis grounded into a 6-4-3 double play which scored the Mets first run.

Detroit would answer back in the top of the fifth inning as Raburn would strike with a home run (2) of his own to left field giving the Tigers the 4-1 lead. Back-to-back singles to left field by Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera set the stage for Brennan Boesch who worked a walk to load the bases for Brandon Inge. Mets manager Jerry Manuel then called for righty Elmer Dessens to try to stop the bleeding, but Dessens could not do so at first as he walked Inge which scored the fifth Tiger run. The relief pitcher was able to get Gerald Laird to hit a fly ball to right field before inducing the force out by Danny Worth. Even though there was an out recorded on that play, as Detroit took a 6-1 lead.

In the bottom of the sixth inning that lead would not stand as Jose Reyes worked the walk to start the inning. Jesus Feliciano singled to right field setting up runners on first and second for David Wright who ripped a double (21) to left field cutting the Tiger lead to 6-2. Ike Davis plated the second run that inning as he was able to hit a grounder to the shortstop which plated Feliciano. Jason Bay ripped a single to center field which would make the score 6-4 in favor of the Tigers.

The Mets comeback would not end there as the drama mounted in the bottom of the seventh inning relief pitcher Ramon Santiago would start by hitting Ruben Tejada with a pitch and throw a wild pitch during Chris Carter’s at bat, which moved Tejada over to second base. Carter would cash that run in with a single to right field and make the score 6-5. Tiger manager Jim Leyland would call for former Yankee reliever Phil Coke to slow down the momentum. At first it seemed as if it would not be successful as Feliciano was able to hit an infield single, but the Mets could not cash in as David Wright struck out and Ike Davis flied out to end the inning.

“One of the characteristics of the team is our ability to come back,” Manuel said. “They felt like they can come back on any given night and they kept fighting and I really liked the fight that I had seen from them tonight.”

Both the Tigers and the Mets had chances during the course of the game. The Mets had chances to get the tie and the win, as well as the Tigers having a chance to add on to their lead. In the end though both bullpens did the job of shutting down the other teams offense and the score would stand at 6-5. Pitcher Jose Valverde converted his 17th straight save opportunity tonight, which dates back to April 9, 2010.

Up next for the Mets is a three game home stand against another tough American League Central foe as the Minnesota Twins come into town. The first game on Friday features Minnesota starter Kevin Slowey (7-4, 4.58 ERA) taking on the Mets ace Mike Pelfrey (9-2, 2.69 ERA) with the first pitch slated at 7:10 p.m.

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Injury Update:  Mets catcher Rod Barajas did not start tonight with a stiff back and Angel Pagan is day-to-day with a muscle spasm.  The team has recalled catcher Josh Thole from Buffalo and optioned lefty Raul Valdes to Buffalo.

“The move was made earlier in the day,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said after the game. “We wanted to make sure that we were protected and there is a good chance that Thole will start tomorrow.” He continued by saying, “We need to protect our catchers they have been vital to our success and we need to make sure that we are protecting them.”

This story originally posted on www.latinosports.com

Posted under American League Central, Armando Galarraga, Balls, Batters, David Wright, Detroit Tigers, Homer, Homers, Jason Bay, Leadoff Hitter, Lefty, Magglio Ordonez, Miguel Cabrera, New York Mets, Rbi, Runners, Ryan Rayburn, Takashi, Three Games, Top Story, Walks

This post was written by Stacy Rae Podelski on June 25, 2010