R.A. Dickey is still very much alive in the conversation for the National League Cy Young award. The knuckleballer tossed seven innings of one-run ball this afternoon at Citi Field as part of a 3-1 win over the Astros. The strong performance helped the Mets snap a six-game losing streak.
Dickey actually got the Mets on the board first in the bottom of the the fourth inning when he hit a tapper along the first base line which caused Astros starter Fernando Abad and catcher Jason Castro to collide and Ronny Cedeno to scamper home from third. Yes, it was an as ugly as it sounds. Watch the play here. Justin Turner later added a solo homer in the sixth while Jason Bay had an RBI single in the eighth. This was the first time since last Friday that the Mets scored more than two runs in a game.
Dickey allowed just five hits while striking out two and walking one. The only run scored on a wild pitch in his final inning of work. It was a little curious to see him leave the game after throwing just 86 pitches, but Jon Rauch, Josh Edgin and Frank Francisco were able to hang on. Dickey is now tied with fellow Cy Young candidates Johnny Cueto and Gio Gonzalez for the National League lead with 16 wins and ranks fourth with a 2.76 ERA. He’s also tied with Stephen Strasburg for the National League lead with 183 strikeouts.
The Red Sox have clinched the AL East for a third consecutive season, beating the Yankees 11-6 in the Bronx on Thursday night. It’s the third consecutive season in which the Red Sox have won the division, the first time that’s ever been done in club history. In fact, the only other times the Red Sox won the division in back-to-back years were 1903-04 and 1915-16.
AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts went 4-for-5 with a two-run single in the second inning off of Masahiro Tanaka and a three-run homer in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman to put the game out of reach. Jackie Bradley and Brock Holt also hit homers. Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez was on the hook for five runs in 3 2/3 innings, but three of them scored when Heath Hembree inherited a bases-loaded situation, then served up a grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth. The rest of the bullpen combined to fire five scoreless innings. Steven Wright had three of them followed by zeroes from Ryan Brasier and Craig Kimbrel.
With the loss, the Yankees’ lead over the Athletics for the first Wild Card slot shrinks to 1.5 games. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will try to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With a 104-49 record, their closest competitor is the 95-57 Astros. With nine games remaining in the regular season for the Red Sox, they would have to lose every game remaining in the regular season and the Astros would have to win their 10 remaining games in order to fail to claim home field advantage.