Yanks end two of Dickey’s streaks
The Yankees ended R.A. Dickey’s string of one-hitters and his consecutive innings streak of no earned runs all in the same inning – the third – Sunday night. The righthander, who pitched one-hitters in his previous two starts, lost his chance for three in a row when Alex Rodriguez beat out an infield hit to third base, the Yankees’ second hit of the game.
And there would be more to come. The Yankees reached base regularly in the early going. They scored more runs in the third inning – four – than Dickey had allowed in a game in all but one of his 14 previous starts. He allowed eight runs in a 14-6 loss at Atlanta April 18 but no more than three runs in any other start.
Dickey worked out of trouble in the second inning when the Yankees loaded the bases with one out. Dickey put the first runner on with an error by dropping a toss from first baseman Justin Turner while covering first base. He then walked Nick Swisher and gave up a single to right by Raul Ibanez, but third base coach Rob Thompson held Mark Teixeira at third base. Dickey kept the ball in the infield after that by retiring Chris Stewart on a pop to second and CC Sabathia on a fielder’s choice.
One of the amazing aspects of Dickey’s remarkable season is his walks total – only 21 in 99 innings coming into this game, a terrific ratio for a knuckleball pitcher. The Yankees’ patience at the plate resulted in Dickey issuing three walks in the first three innings. A-Rod’s infield single was between walks as the Yankees again loaded the bases.
They have not done well when the bags are full this year (.181 entering play Sunday night), but they reversed that trend against Dickey. Teixeira scored Curtis Granderson with a sacrifice fly, a run that ended Dickey’s stretch of 44 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run, thereby leaving intact Dwight Gooden’s franchise mark of 49 such innings in 1985.
Swisher tore into a 2-1 knuckler and drove it over the right field wall for his 11th home run and a 4-0 Yankees lead. Before the game, Swisher talked about how he sometimes bats right-handed against knuckleball pitchers but that he would stay on the left side against Dickey because of the power aspect. Nine of Swish’s home runs have come while batting left-handed.
Dickey had another of his incredible achievements stopped in the fifth inning. After he hit Granderson with a pitch to begin the inning, Dickey was charged with a wild pitch while facing Rodriguez that allowed Granderson to take second base. It was the first wild pitch thrown this season by Dickey coming in his 104th inning, an astonishing feat for a knucleballer.