It wasn't a no-hitter, but R.A. Dickey and the Mets will certainly take the results.
Dickey pitched his third career shutout Saturday after Johan Santana threw New York's first ever no-no the night before, and the Mets beat the Cardinals 5-0.
Dickey (8-1) gave up seven hits, including two in the ninth inning, and struck out nine without issuing a walk.
The knuckleballer threw 73 of his 100 pitches for strikes -- the last one was lined to right field by Carlos Beltran, stranding a runner at third to wrap up Dickey's fifth complete game and first shutout in almost two years.
"When he's got that knuckleball working like he did today, I feel bad for the hitters," said Mets third baseman David Wright, who homered. "I faced him in spring training, and it's not fun. It makes you look foolish. You look up at the radar gun and it's high 60s, low 70s miles an hour."
Santana tossed 134 pitches in his no-hitter, an 8-0 win to open the four-game series. It came in the franchise's 8,020th game. Santana and Dickey were also the last two Mets pitchers to throw back-to-back shutouts on Aug. 12 and 13, 2010.
"I went to bed last night reminding myself to bring what I bring, whatever that is," said Dickey. "[Santana] did a fantastic thing yesterday and I just wanted to give our team a chance to win."
Cardinals righty Lance Lynn (8-2), with a chance to become the majors' first nine-game winner this season, was no match. He lasted just 4 2/3 innings in his shortest outing of the season, giving up three runs -- two earned -- on five hits and four walks.
Dickey, who tweeted after Santana's no-hitter that he had "never been more proud of a teammate," continues to show an uncommon level of control for a knuckleballer. He has 30 strikeouts and one walk in his last three starts and in unbeaten in his last eight (6-0).
He was strong till the end, striking out the side on 12 pitches in the eighth before giving up back-to-back singles to Rafael Furcal and Daniel Descalso to start the ninth. After a double play, Beltran lined out to give the Mets their sixth win on an 11-game homestand.
"The knuckleball was moving all over," said Mets catcher Josh Thole. "The wind direction kept changing so every inning it was a challenge for everybody."
Descalso had two hits for the Cards, who have lost four in a row to fall to 1-4 on a 10-game road trip.
Beltran had the first hit of the series for St. Louis, a leadoff double in the second inning. He went to third on Yadier Molina's single but the Cardinals stranded both runners.
The Mets took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the inning after some sloppy play by St. Louis.
After Ike Davis led off with a single and Omar Quintanilla was hit in the hand, Josh Thole loaded the bases with an infield single. The first run scored on Dickey's grounder to the second baseman Descalso, who dropped the ball trying to turn a double play and then threw low to first baseman Matt Adams, who also dropped it. The other two runs came home on consecutive ground outs by Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Andres Torres.
Lynn came out with the bases loaded in the fifth and Victor Marte got Thole on a ground out to end the inning.
"Dickey pitched a great game and I wasn't able to match him. That's what it comes down to," said Lynn. "I gotta pitch better than that, and I wasn't able to do that today."
Dickey escaped a first-and-third jam in the sixth when he caught Matt Holliday looking at a third strike. He pitched a 1-2-3 seventh, helped by the shortstop Quintanilla's diving stop on Molina's grounder up the middle.
Lucas Duda hit a leadoff single in the bottom of the seventh and went to third on Daniel Murphy's double. He was out on a force play at the plate, but Murphy scored on Eduardo Sanchez's wild pitch to make it 4-0.
Wright hit an opposite-field homer to right off Mitchell Boggs in the eighth to make it 5-0. It was his sixth homer of the season.
The Mets are 9-2 in Dickey's starts this season...Lynn and Phillies lefty Cole Hamels both failed to become the majors' first nine-game winner this season on Saturday. Hamels had the only hit in Dickey's last shutout...Mets left fielder Mike Baxter was out of the lineup after crashing into the wall Friday night on a catch to save Santana's no-hitter.