Pitcher R.A. Dickey #43 of the New York Mets pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
Wednesday night in St. Petersburg, knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey broke the Mets' franchise record for consecutive scoreless innings.
Dickey tied the old record of 31⅓ innings, held by Jerry Koosman, when he finished the seventh inning by retiring Matt Joyce on a fly ball to center field.
Dickey set a new record in the bottom of the eighth, when he retired Hideki Matsui on a grounder to shortstop, struck out Sean Rodriguez for his 12th strikeout in the game -- a new personal best, by the way -- and got Jose Lobaton on a grounder to third base.
New Record! 32⅔ innings!*
* The way consecutive scoreless innings are computed is a bit arcane, if not downright counter-intuitive. The count was 31⅔ when Dickey completed the seventh. But the streak wouldn't officially continue until Dickey either completed the eighth or was removed from the game without allowing a run.
Dickey's skein finally ended in the ninth. Elliot Johnson led off with a grounder to David Wright, who threw wildly to first base for an error. Will Rhymes followed with a fly ball to deep right field, tracked down by Scott Hairston. But Johnson advanced to second and then third on two passed balls by rookie catcher Mike Nickeas, and then scored on Desmond Jennings' grounder to shortstop. The game ended when Nickeas corralled Carlos Pena's foul pop.
That run in the ninth was tainted, but a run's a run and the streak was over.
Robert Alan Dickey has hurled more scoreless innings in a row than Jerry Koosman, and also Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, Al Leiter, Sid Fernandez, Jon Matlack, David Cone, Johan Santana, and everyone else who's ever pitched for the New York Mets.
Oh, and Dickey pitched the 36th one-hitter in Mets history and the second of his career, the only hit coming when B.J. Upton topped a grounder toward third base in the first inning ...
Wright made a bare-hand attempt, but just couldn't make the play. Dickey, who didn't walk a single Met in the game, retired the next 22 Rays he faced, with that streak ending when Wright erred in the ninth.
But that's merely a footnote. The story in Tampa was the headline.
P.S. For your viewing pleasure, here's Dickey striking out Upton in the seventh inning. Just one of many!