Despite this, and despite the prowess of David Price, I still felt confident that the Mets would find a way to win. I had two reasons to feel this way. 1) R.A. Dickey was pitching for the Mets, and it seems that he's mastered his quest for the perfect knuckleball, since nobody seems to be able to hit him anymore. So one or two runs ought to do the trick. 2) The way this ass-backwards season has been going for the Mets, why shouldn't they be able to beat David Price?
And, of course, the Mets proved me right, and, of course, it was kicked off by a pair of guys who were hitting under the Mendoza line, and perhaps combined. Ike Davis continued what's been a resurgent few games for him with a well-struck double, which was quickly followed by an RBI single from Mike Nickeas, whose grand slam in late May was, I believe, the only hit he'd had in the past month. That got the Mets the run they needed, which probably was a good cushion for Dickey. But, hey, why stop there? Daniel Murphy singled home a couple more runs, and in the next inning even Jason Bay woke up and joined the party in the midst of a 6-consecutive hit string that pretty much salted the game away.
That meant that the only drama of the late innings was to see just how long Dickey could keep his consecutive scoreless innings streak going. John Maine had a similarly impressive streak back in 2006, and nobody saw him or the streak coming at that particular time either. But for some reason, this streak of Dickey's has been so impressive that you figured he could keep this thing going for a while. And he probably would have, too, had he not been foiled by the maker of his success. A couple of too-lively knuckleballs bounced off of Nickeas' glove in the 9th, allowing Elliot Johnson (already aboard thanks to an error) to grab a couple of free bases and score a garbage time run. But I digress. Dickey was, by the end of the 7th, tied with Jerry Koosman for the club record for scoreless innings, and he breezed right past that in a dominant 8th inning.
Basically, the only way Dickey seems to be allowing any runs of late is purely by accident.
In fact, that one hit was fairly accidental, too. I didn't think much of it at the time, but then again, as the game progressed and it became apparent that Dickey wasn't going to allow the Rays to even sniff a hit, that little roller that Wright couldn't pick up became one of those "maybe" plays. Scored a hit, but maybe it was an error. It seems Terry Collins thought enough of it to protest the call after the game to see if it could be changed. I don't know that these protests are successful very often, and knowing Dickey, I don't think he'd want to be awarded a No Hitter after the fact (particularly one in which a run scored in rather unseemly fashion). And, of course, it's no longer a "coulda, woulda, shoulda" for the Mets, since they now have a No Hitter. It's just another one-hitter. Or, more appropriately, another outstanding performance by the guy who's been the best pitcher for the Mets all season long.