Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey's road to the Cy Young Award appeared to take a detour a year ago today when he was out-pitched by the man many considered to be his top rival for that honor. For the first five innings at Citi Field that night it looked like a classic mound duel between Dickey and the National's Gio Gonzalez, the latter holding the Mets to one unearned run and one hit, while R.A. yielded one run on three hits.
In the top of the sixth, however, after striking out Bryce Harper and getting Ryan Zimmerman out on a weak grounder to short, Dickey's knuckler began dancing to the wrong tune. Mike Morse singled and Adam LaRoche drove an 0-1 pitch over the right field fence. Three singles and a Jason Bay throwing error later, the Nats had a 5-1 lead. New York mustered only two more hits, one of them a pinch home run by Jordany Valdespin off reliever Ryan Mattheus.
The win by Gonzalez tied him for the league lead in victories with Dickey (13) and closed the ERA gap between himself, at 3.13, and Dickey, whose 2.97 mark was almost a full run higher than what it had been one month earlier. It looked as if Dickey's bubble may have burst, but he kicked it up a notch the rest of the way and won the Cy Young Award handily. Or should we say knuckle-ily?
Other Games of Note
On July 24, 1993, the Los Angeles Dodgers handed Anthony Young his major league record 27th straight loss. The wound was self-inflicted as A.Y. walked in the winning run in the bottom of the 10th.
1988: In an emotional pre-game ceremony at Shea Stadium, the Mets retired Tom Seaver's number 41.
1973: Willie Mays played in his 24th and final All-Star Game, striking out as a pinch hitter.
1970: With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 10th, Tommie Agee stole home against the Dodgers to give the Mets a 2-1 win over Jim Brewer and the Dodgers.
Lefty reliever Jeff Kaiser, turning 53 today, had seven cups of coffee over six seasons with five teams. His last sip, with the Mets, was a bitter brew served up by the Pirates, who tagged him for three ninth-inning runs without recording an out to turn a one-run game into a 9-5 loss on May 17, 1993.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
Tony and Emmy award-winning actress-singer Kristin Chenoweth celebrates her 45th birthday today. In January of 2007 the diminutive dynamo made an amazin' debut as a soloist at New York's Metropolitan Opera House, running onto the stage wearing a Mets jersey and cap, waving a Mets pennant, and asking for directions to the hot dog stand. After music conductor Andrew Lippa reminded her that she was at The Met, not a Mets game, Chenoweth made a quick costume change and, so we've heard, delivered a vocal performance that touched 'em all. Lippa, by the way, is a graduate of the University of Michigan, the alma mater of Mets owner Fred Wilpon.