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r.a. dickey

R.A. Dickey Got That Twentieth Win

R.A. Dickey #43 of the New York Mets acknowledges the crowd after being pulled in the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citi Field on September 27, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.

The shearing of Keith Hernandez today prompted a lot of "only reason people are paying attention to the Mets right now" jokes, but goddamn if they didn't come up with a fine bit of baseball this afternoon. R.A. Dickey — pitching in a start that had been rescheduled so it would take place at home — pitched a lovely seven-and-two-thirds innings, giving up just three runs and striking out thirteen. He departed in the eighth to a standing ovation and, after a brief scare from the New York bullpen (Jon Rauch had a rough birthday), ended up with his twentieth win, making him the first Met to do it since Frank Viola in 1990 and the first knuckleballer to do it since Joe Niekro in 1980.

Dickey remains firmly in contention for the NL Cy Young award (he could sneak in a 21st win next week), which — not that you need to be reminded — is still pretty cool, considering the 37 years leading up to it. It was pretty cool, too, to see Citi Field liven up this late in a lost season. They went nuts for Dickey, and they went nuts for the fifth inning David Wright homer that gave Dickey his lead (Wright had more luck than Mike Baxter did in beating Travis Snider over that right field wall).

All things considered, Dickey's shot at the Cy Young, Wright's new hit record, and this little run of wins — six in their last seven games — are a pretty sweet way to be winding down a season otherwise fraught with sorrow. It's certainly not pleasant to be a Mets fan these days, but at least there are some good feelings to be had.

Photo: Alex Trautwig/Getty Images