R.A. Dickey’s impeccable control with that dancing knuckleball has made him the most dominant pitcher in baseball.
Dickey became the first major league pitcher in 24 years to throw consecutive one-hitters and Ike Davis hit a grand slam to lead the New York Mets past the Baltimore Orioles, 5-0, Monday night at Citi Field.
Coming off a one-hitter against the Rays last Wednesday, the knuckleballer struck out a career-high 13 and allowed only Wilson Betemit’s clean single in the fifth inning. He has not permitted an earned run in 42 2/3 innings, the second-longest stretch in club history behind Dwight Gooden’s streak of 49 innings in 1985.
“I’m going to leave it to you guys to explain it. I’m just going to try to be in the moment with it,’’ Dickey said.
The 37-year-old Dickey walked two and became the first 11-game winner in the majors, baffling Baltimore with knucklers that ranged from 66-81 m.p.h. in a game that took just 2 hours and 7 minutes. He fanned his final two hitters, topping his previous career best of 12 strikeouts set Wednesday against Tampa Bay.
Dickey has won nine straight decisions and six consecutive starts. It was his fourth game this season with double-digit strikeouts and the fifth of his career. The righthander has an incredible 71 strikeouts and six walks in his last seven starts, lowering his ERA to 2.00.
Betemit’s two-out single in the fifth ended Dickey’s streak of 13 hitless innings including last Wednesday’s game.
Dickey even started the New York rally with a leadoff single in the sixth against Jake Arrieta, a question mark to make his start until just a few hours before the game because he had been feeling ill the past few days.
Jordany Valdespin doubled with one out and Dickey had to scramble back to third after he initially broke the wrong way on Wright’s lineout to shortstop. The pitcher barely beat the throw, and that turned out to be a crucial play.
Lucas Duda walked to load the bases and Davis hit the next pitch just to the left of center for his first career slam. It was his seventh home run of the year. A recent surge raised Davis’s batting average to .194 entering the game.
Baltimore, which had won seven of eight, was coming off consecutive shutouts in Atlanta.
The four RBIs set a career high for Davis.
Yankees 6, Braves 2 - CC Sabathia struck out 10, Derek Jeter drove in three runs, and host New York won its 10th straight game.
Mark Teixeira hit the Yankees’ major league-leading 100th home run in the sixth inning and Robinson Cano added his 13th homer in the eighth.
The team with the AL’s best record kept rampaging in interleague play - all 10 of these triumphs have come against NL teams with winning records, including a sweep at Turner Field last week.
Michael Bourn led off the game with a triple and scored when Martin Prado followed with a groundout, ending Atlanta’s 20-inning shutout string. But the Braves’ first game at the new Yankee Stadium and first trip to the Bronx since 2006 still resulted in their seventh loss in eight tries.
Sabathia gave up seven hits in his 34th career complete game.
Diamondbacks 7, Mariners 1 - Aaron Hill hit a solo homer in the seventh inning to become the fifth Arizona player to hit for the cycle, lifting host Arizona to a win over Seattle.
Hill hit a single in the first inning, added a triple in the third, and a double in the fifth.
Cubs 12, White Sox 3 - Bryan LaHair and Alfonso Soriano homered to lead the Cubs to a victory over the host White Sox.
With winds gusting to 41 m.p.h., the Cubs had season highs of five home runs, 15 hits, and 12 runs.
Starlin Castro and Luis Valbuena homered and had three hits apiece for the Cubs and Geovany Soto added a solo shot in his first game back from the 15-day disabled list.
Brewers 7, Blue Jays 6 - Aramis Ramirez’s liner down the left-field line was ruled a home run after umpires reversed a foul ball call using video replay in the seventh inning that snapped a tie and lifted host Milwaukee to victory.
Indians 10, Reds 9 - Lonnie Chisenhall and Casey Kotchman had three RBIs apiece as host Cleveland ended Cincinnati’s six-game winning streak.
Shin-Soo Choo homered for the Indians.
Astros 9, Royals 7 - Brian Bixler drove in a career-high three runs on three hits, including his first career homer, and Justin Maxwell and Brian Bogusevic also homered as Houston held off visiting Kansas City.
Rangers 2, Padres 1 - David Murphy hit a two-run single in the first inning, Matt Harrison won his fifth straight decision, and Texas beat host San Diego for its fourth straight victory.