Dickey grounds Cardinals' offense

Sunday, June 3, 2012
Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday reacts to home plate umpire Lance Barksdale's third strike call during the sixth inning Saturday in New York. (KATHY KMONICEK ~ Associated Press)

NEW YORK -- The St. Louis Cardinals believe they are one inning away from an offensive outburst. They've been there ever since they arrived in New York.

R.A. Dickey followed Johan Santana's no-hitter by shutting out the Cardinals, and David Wright homered to help the New York Mets win 5-0 on Saturday.

Cardinals starter Lance Lynn allowed five hits and two earned runs over 4 2/3 innings. He left with runners on second and third and the Cardinals trailing 3-0. Lynn (8-2) walked four and struck out three. He lost for the second time in four decisions since starting the season with six straight wins.

"Dickey pitched great," Lynn said. "I was not able to match him today. That is my job, and I did not accomplish it. This offense, it takes just one inning for them to explode."

They mostly fizzled Saturday.

Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy forces out Cardinals baserunner Shane Robinson at second base and throws to first base for the double play during the fourth inning Saturday in New York. (KATHY KMONICEK ~ Associated Press)

Dickey (8-1) gave up seven hits, struck out nine and walked none in his third career shutout and first this season. The Mets scored three runs in the second on a mishandled grounder and two run-scoring ground outs to win for the sixth time in eight games.

Carlos Beltran got the Cardinals' first hit of the series, a clean double against Dickey in the second inning, a day after he hit a shot down the line that looked fair but was ruled foul against Santana. The Cardinals have lost four straight and seven of nine.

"We will get it going here," Cardinals infielder Daniel Descalso said. "We just need to bounce back and make some adjustments."

Dickey gave up a bunt single to Rafael Furcal and a line drive to Descalso to begin the ninth, but Matt Holliday hit into a 6-4-3 double play and Beltran flied out to right field to end the game in a brisk 2 hours, 34 minutes.

"Knuckleball is not an easy pitch to bunt, hit, or hit to the opposite field," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "You have to put together a good swing at what you see in the zone."

The reborn knuckleballer who almost was out of baseball before committing to the pitch baffled the Cardinals all day.

Cardinals hitters swung and missed repeatedly at the fluttering pitch. Dickey ended the fifth inning by throwing four straight knuckleballs to Matt Adams then got him to swing at a fastball.

Omar Quintanilla put an even bigger exclamation point on the seventh inning when he dived to his left to get a hot grounder from Yadier Molina. The shortstop then popped to his feet, spun and fired to first, which prompted a big fist pump from Dickey, who already was striding off the mound. Dickey struck out the side in the eighth to put himself on the cusp of three straight games with double-digit strikeouts.

He has 30 Ks with one walk in his last three starts.

The Mets got all the scoring they needed in the second, though Daniel Murphy added a run in the seventh when Eduardo Sanchez threw a wild pitch while Dickey batted.

"Some balls slip through," Matheny said. "Some plays that are normally made that were not."

Ike Davis led off the second with a single, and Quintanilla was hit by a pitch. Josh Thole loaded the bases on an infield single before Dickey reached out and tapped a ball to second base. Descalso fielded it, stumbled and dropped it.

"I just lost it, that's it," he said.

Once Descalso got the ball back, he rushed his throw to first, where Adams dropped it for an error that allowed Dickey to reach and gave the pitcher a rare RBI.

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