By: Stache Staff

R.A. Surrenders Bracelets and Longballs in Loss to Reds


Wednesday night started off so well for R.A. Dickey. His knuckleball was dancing and though they got a first inning run, the pitch mostly baffled the Reds early.

But sometime after the umpires forced him to cut off two bracelets his daughters made for him, Dickey came unraveled. He wound up lasting just six innings and allowing five runs, including three solo homers. Meanwhile, Dickey’s counterpart, Mike Leake, was brilliant and tossed a complete game four hitter as the Mets lost 6-1 to the Reds on Wednesday night in Cincinnati.

Dickey was looking for his 16th win of the season when he took the hill on Wednesday and it appeared the humidity in Cincy would help him get there. His pitches had so much movement early that Josh Thole was routinely whiffing on the catch and the home plate umpire was even fooled by the pitch.

The Reds did scratch a run in the first inning as Brandon Phillips followed a Zack Cozart double with a single to center to put Cincinnati on the board. But when the Mets tied the game in the fourth on a double play ground ball by Daniel Murphy that scored Mike Baxter, it seemed we were locked into a pitcher’s duel.

But the Reds answered with back-to-back bombs off Dickey in the fourth. After Dickey picked off Jay Bruce, who singled to start the inning, Scott Rolen — whose old man game suits the knuckleball perfectly — crushed the next pitch deep into the left field stands for a solo homer. Two pitches later Frazier launched a 1-0 pitch to dead center that landed above the batter’s eye, an estimated 474-feet away from home plate.

That was all the support Leake needed as he scattered just two hits across the final five innings.Leake was on-point all night, starting 22-of-30 hitters with a strike over the course of the evening including 13 straight at one point. Overall, 70 of Leake’s 111 pitches were strikes. He struck out just four, but got plenty of help from his defense and faced just three batters over the minimum.

Cincinnati tacked on a few more off Dickey in the sixth, starting with a homer by Jay Bruce. Frazier followed with a single and eventually came around to score on a single by Leake. Dickey allowed five earned runs on 10 hits over his six innings. He walked just two and struck out nine, but the longball really bit him.

Jeremy Hefner came on in relief and allowed the final Reds run in the seventh. Drew Stubbs led off the inning with a single, stole second and scored on a Ryan Ludwick single. In his last relief outing before moving into the new six-man rotation, Hefner pitched two innings and allowed the one run on three hits.

On the other side, Leake retired nine of the last 10 batters to face him, the only runner being Mike Baxter, who blooped a single to center with one out in the ninth.

Game Ball: Baxter and Tejada split it just as they evenly split the only four hits the Mets had on Wednesday night.

Random Stache Moment: It doesn’t get much more random than a few bumbling umpires forcing a guy to cut off a bracelet he hasn’t taken off since the winter in his 24th start of the year. If this is one of MLB’s new directives, as Terry Collins eluded to after the game, I might make it a directive to stop giving MLB so much of my money.

Turning Point: The Mets had just tied the game in the top of the fourth and minutes later they were back behind on the homers by Rolen and Frazier. They couldn’t bounce back after that and Leake was dominant the rest of the way.

Next Up: The Mets and Reds complete their three-game set at Great American Ballpark on Thursday night with New York fighting to stave off a sweep. Matt Harvey (1-3, 3.63 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 26 K) will toe the rubber for the Mets on the second anniversary of the date he signed his draft contract. Harvey will be opposed by Reds righthander Homer Bailey (10-7, 4.08 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 105 K). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. and the game can be seen on SNY or heard, as always, on WFAN 660 AM.

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