Friday, May 20, 2011

Mets knuckleballer Dickey baffles Yankees in 2-1 win

New York Mets starting pitcher R.A. Dickey throws a pitch to the New York Yankees in the first inning of their MLB inter-league baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, May 20, 2011. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine

(Reuters) - Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey won an unlikely pitchers' duel as the visiting New York Mets nipped the New York Yankees 2-1 on Friday to take the opening game of their weekend Subway Series in interleague play.

 Dickey, who gave up six runs and 11 hits in five innings against the Astros his last time out, befuddled the Yankees for six innings.

The tricky right-hander yielded one run on four hits and struck out six to improve his record to 2-5 with the help of three spotless innings of relief and lift the injury-hit Mets to the .500 mark at 22-22 with their third successive win.

Mets first baseman Daniel Murphy, who had been mired in a batting slump, led off the sixth with a line-drive home run down the right-field line off Freddy Garcia to snap a 1-1 tie.

"I'm really proud of the way the club has held together with all the banged-up guys, Mets manager Terry Collins told reporters. "These guys have done nothing but gone out every night and just played as hard as they can play."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Dickey had his batters fooled in the briskly played two-hour, 47-minute game that dropped the Yankees to 23-20.

"Whenever you face a knuckleballer you're not sure what's going to happen," said Girardi, whose lineup produced 13 runs on Thursday in a win against Baltimore.

"It's not something you see very often. It's a totally different day for all of our hitters."

Yankees starter Garcia (2-4), who yielded five runs in five innings in his last start against Boston, pitched five-hit ball for seven innings but took the loss as the Bronx Bombers went out with a whimper, stranding five men in scoring position.

The home team struck first when Mark Teixeira reached out and hooked a 3-1 pitch just over the outstretched glove of Mets right fielder Carlos Beltran and into the seats to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third.

The Mets answered in their next at-bat, with back-to-back doubles by Fernando Martinez and Justin Turner tying the game 1-1 in the top of the fourth.

A spectacular play by shortstop Jose Reyes kept the Yankees from scoring in the fifth.

With men on first and second and two out, Alex Rodriguez hit a sharp grounder that was headed for center-field. Reyes dove outstretched to snare the ball, popped up and fired to first to retire Rodriguez and end the inning.

Murphy immediately capitalized on the run-saving play with his fence-clearing blast for the game-winning run.

Mets relievers were superb in preserving the one-run lead as Mike O'Connor, Jason Isringhausen and closer Francisco Rodriguez each pitched a perfect inning as the last 11 Yankees were retired in order including seven by strikeout.

When Rodriguez, nicknamed "K-Rod" for the scoring symbol for a strikeout, fanned Nick Swisher for the last out of the game, it was met with the loudest roar for a visiting team victory likely to be heard this season at Yankee Stadium.


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