There was a home run that became a triple that became an extended farce of a video review session that became a nagging left on base. There was, at last, a double followed by another double and those became a run. There was a no-hitter that unfortunately became a one-hitter, but ultimately stayed a one-hitter as well as another complete game shutout.
That’s a lot of baseball packed into two hours and nine minutes. Minus one bad overturned call and one achingly sinking line drive, it’s all we could have asked for.
No one has to tell R.A. Dickey to “man up,” that’s for sure. That man is ready for anything. Friday night he was ready to follow up his worst Met outing with his best Met outing, maybe the best Met outing Citi Field has ever seen. It was certainly as efficient an outing as any pitcher could unfurl.
It was, considering the absence of a designated closer, definitely just what the Dickey ordered.
R.A. allows just one baserunner via walk for five innings. Then Cole Hamels gets a hit with one out in the sixth. We knew it was nauseating as soon as it fell in. What we couldn’t have known was Hamels wasn’t too many minutes removed from joining then-Cardinals Ray Sadecki (1966 off Jack Hamilton) and John Curtis (1974 off Jon Matlack) plus Rockie Chin Hui-Tsao (2003 off Steve Trachsel) as the only opposing pitchers to register the sole besmirchment in a Met one-hitter. Oh well, a pitcher is a hitter as long as he’s got a bat in his hands, and Hamels is quite a pitcher besides; he went all eight innings that the Mets batted, making this the fifth dual complete game in which a Met starter has engaged in the past fifteen years.
But really, was anybody else on the field as long as R.A. Dickey was on the mound twirling those nasty knucklers? Didn’t feel like it. He got some nice defense early. He stayed in a groove from first to last. It was his show. At the moment, it’s his world, and we’re all just kvelling in it.
Naturally you can’t simply rely on a Met starter to throw a gem of a shutout and expect to win. For that, you need at least one Met run, and the Mets and the umps both seemed determined to avoid that total. Mike Hessman hit his second Met home run — goodbye list! — until inconclusive replay evidence mysteriously refashioned it a triple — hello again list! (Mike Hessman’s first four Met hits, spread over eleven games, have been a double, a single, a homer and now a triple…how’s that for a cycle?) I’m still fuming at the three men in blew who reduced Hessman’s blast to a three-bagger, but I’m angrier at whatever dope stuck his arms over the left field wall and cast doubt on the entire process. It was a home run. Even if it wasn’t a home run, there was no video that made that clear it wasn’t after it was ruled that it was. Video replay remains an odd duck in the baseball pond, but it’s still better than just guessing.
Jeff Francoeur and Henry Blanco each were granted an opportunity to make it all good by driving Hessman home from third, but they chose passive resistance instead. So much for the one run Dickey needed. Fortunately, Wright finally hit a ball with enough distance to get him as far as second and Beltran woke up to do the same. That made it 1-0 after six, and Dickey made it cruisingly through nine.
Two hours and nine minutes, and that’s with seven or eight minutes devoted to getting the home run call wrong. Amazin’! Back-to-back complete game shutouts during the two days of Francisco Rodriguez’s suspension. Doubly Amazin’! No-hitter steered clear of every single game since 1962. We know how that goes, particularly when one lousy ball lands safely, but the part where their one hit doesn’t kill you and your one run puts you over the top…that’s as Amazin’ as we needed to be on a night like this.
One-hitter mania here from ESPN’S Mark Simon.