St. Petersburg, FL – R.A. Dickey fired a complete game one- hitter and struck out a career-high 12 batters Wednesday as the Mets dominated the Rays, 9-1, in the middle portion of a three-game set at Tropicana Field.
Dickey (10-1) set a Mets franchise-record for consecutive scoreless innings with 32 2/3 blank frames before the Rays plated a run in the ninth thanks to an error and pair of passed balls. Jerry Koosman set the previous record of 31 2/3 scoreless frames back in 1973.
The knuckleballer didn't allow a walk and the only hit he surrendered was B.J. Upton's infield single with two outs in the first. Dickey became the first pitcher in the majors to reach the 10-win plateau.
"We were two plays from a perfect game," said Mets manager Terry Collins. "I've seen a lot of games, but I've never seen a perfecto."
Daniel Murphy, David Wright and Omar Quintanilla each knocked in a pair of runs for the Mets, who go for the series sweep in Thursday's finale.
David Price (8-4) absorbed the loss after giving up seven runs on nine hits and three walks with eight strikeouts over five-plus innings. The Rays have now lost six of their last eight games at the Trop.
Ike Davis provided the first extra-base hit of the game with a one-out double in the fifth before Mike Nickeas plated the game's first run with a liner into center, scoring Davis from second and giving the Mets a 1-0 lead.
Andres Torres stroked a double into the left-field corner two batters later and Murphy followed with a single through the right side of the infield to score Nickeas and Torres as the Mets pushed the lead to 3-0.
New York added to its lead in the sixth as Scott Hairston and Jason Bay smacked consecutive singles to start the frame before Vinny Rottino clubbed a double into the right-field corner to plate Hairston from second.
Davis then bounced a single over Carlos Pena's glove at first, allowing Bay to score and marking the end of Price's day.
An infield single from Nickeas then loaded the bases before Quintanilla plated a pair with a liner into center to extend the margin to 7-0.
In the ninth, back-to-back doubles from Murphy and Wright pushed the lead to 9-0 as Wright plated Murphy and Torres, who reached on a leadoff single.
Dickey had retired 22 straight Rays before Wright misplayed Elliot Johnson's grounder to third to start the ninth. Johnson moved to third on a pair of passed balls before scoring on a Desmond Jennings groundout to snap Dickey's scoreless innings streak.
"That was an unbelievable pitching performance," admitted Pena about Dickey's outing. "I tip my hat. That was outstanding and very tough to hit."
Dickey hasn't lost a game since April 18. He has struck out eight-plus batters in each of his last six starts...Price dropped to 4-2 in five starts at the Trop...The Mets went 7-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base.