Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays are one-hit in 9-1 loss to New York Mets

ST. PETERSBURG — On a night when they couldn't find R.A. Dickey's 80-85 mph heater, the Rays could find consolation.

They likely won't have to face another knuckleball pitcher again in 2012.

Wednesday's highly bizarre pitching throwdown was won by the throwback, in a landslide. As Dickey perplexed the Rays, the Mets pounded David Price en route to a 9-1 romp before a paid audience of 18,496.

Only B.J. Upton's first-inning grounder down the third-base line, ruled a single after David Wright futilely tried to barehand it, separated the 37-year-old Dickey (10-1) from the Mets' second no-hitter this month and second all time.

"(The knuckleball) is like a roller-coaster, you just don't know what it's going to do," said first baseman Carlos Peña, one of four Rays to strike out twice.

"It could cut, it could drift up and away from a hitter, it could cut into a hitter and he could throw it harder, slower. That was an unbelievable pitching performance."

Not to mention an untouchable one. Dickey, who threw 106 pitches and had nine-pitch innings in the fifth and the sixth, struck out a career-high 12 and became the second-oldest Met to toss a one-hitter.

"I've seen some dominant pitching," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "But nothing like what he's going through right now."

After Upton's single, Dickey, a .500 big-league pitcher on a staggering career resurgence, retired the next 22 Rays. When Elliot Johnson scored an unearned run in the ninth, after reaching first on a Wright error and moving to third on two passed balls, Dickey's scoreless streak ended at 322/3 innings.

"It's a hot knuckleball," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "You've got a combination of velocity with it, movement and the ability to throw it for a strike. … Listen, he's hot right now and he's very good."

For the first four innings, Price (8-4) stood throw-to-throw with Dickey.

Despite walking three of the first seven batters he faced, Price allowed one hit while striking out six through four. Leaning more heavily than normal on breaking stuff, he allowed four hits in the fifth, the most damaging a two-run single by Daniel Murphy that gave New York a 3-0 lead.

He was chased after allowing four consecutive hits to start the sixth, when the Mets scored four runs. The seven earned runs Price allowed matched his career high and matched his total in his previous five starts.

"I didn't have my best fastball," Price said, "so I had to use my other stuff."

The Mets, who have scored 20 in two nights, connected with all of it. First baseman Ike Davis and catcher Mike Nickeas, hitting .181 and .155, respectively, combined to go 4-for-7. Centerfielder Andres Torres (.221) had three hits.

But this night was about Dickey, who tipped his hat to the vocal throng of Mets fans hovering above his dugout as he exited the field.

"He's not your traditional knuckleballer," Upton said. "He throws a hard knuckleball and he was doing different things with it. It was tough to hit."

Comments
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Kevin Kiermaier returns to the Rays

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Kevin Kiermaier returns to the Rays

Times sports columnist Tom Jones joins Rick Stroud to discuss Kevin Kiermaier's return to the Rays, whether Victor Hedman should win the Norris Trophy for the NHL's best defenseman, Bucs expectations for this season and Barry Trotz's next c...
Updated: 3 hours ago
How the Rays really won Tuesday’s game over Astros

How the Rays really won Tuesday’s game over Astros

There was some interesting inside baseball elements that factored into the late innings of Tuesday's 2-1 Rays win.* First, on Matt Duffy's double off reliever Hector Rondon to lead off the eighth.Duffy said he doesn't like "to guess" what a pitcher i...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier returns, with energy to spare

Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier returns, with energy to spare

HOUSTON — Energy.That's what Kevin Kiermaier said he felt he'd provide most in rejoining the Rays Tuesday against the Astros after missing two-plus months recovering from thumb surgery."I like to think I bring energy on both sides of the ball, ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays journal: Blake Snell outlasts Justin Verlander in 2-1 win

Rays journal: Blake Snell outlasts Justin Verlander in 2-1 win

HOUSTON — The starting pitcher walked seven over seven otherwise solid innings Tuesday. That seemed weird enough for the Rays. Then the next pitcher they brought in was the one who started Monday's game. Even more bizarre.And then there was thi...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Astros

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Astros

This is how odd LHP Blake Snell's night was — he became the first pitcher to work seven or more innings and walk at least seven since Edwin Jackson threw his 149-pitch, eight-walk no-hitter at the Rays on June 25, 2010.If you weren't aware of t...
Published: 06/19/18
For starters: Rays at Astros, with Kiermaier back and an ace-high matchup

For starters: Rays at Astros, with Kiermaier back and an ace-high matchup

UPDATE, 6:45: Cash said Smith will continue to play a lot, getting time in LF and RF, meaning something of a rotation system for rookie Johnny Field and veteran Carlos Gomez.UPDATE, 4:49: Kiermaier is batting leadoff and playing center as expected, w...
Published: 06/19/18
So, how exactly did the Rays end up losing Monday?

So, how exactly did the Rays end up losing Monday?

The Rays lost Monday's game when Sergio Romo failed them in the ninth inning.Called on to protect what was whittled to a one-run lead from 4-0, Romo got off to a bad start, walking the first batter on four pitches and then allowing a single to the se...
Published: 06/19/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays continue to struggle in close games

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays continue to struggle in close games

The Rays blow a four-run lead in Houston and lose on a walkoff hit to the Astros in the opener of their three-game series. It's the 19th one-run loss for the Rays this season as they continue to struggle in close games. Fortunately, reinforcements ar...
Published: 06/19/18
Rays DFA Rob Refsnyder to make room for Kevin Kiermaier

Rays DFA Rob Refsnyder to make room for Kevin Kiermaier

The Rays made official after Monday's game that CF Kevin Kiermaier would be activated on Tuesday.And to make room on the 40- and 25 man rosters, they designated for assignment OF Rob Refsnyder.Acquired from the Indians for cash considerations just be...
Published: 06/19/18
Rays journal: A 4-0 lead disappears in loss at Houston

Rays journal: A 4-0 lead disappears in loss at Houston

HOUSTON — The Rays brought up several of their top prospects so they can get as much experience as possible.And Monday that included seeing how the relentless defending champion Astros worked their way back from an early four-run deficit to sco...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18