NEW YORK — R.A. Dickey helped his own cause for his 16th victory, driving in a run with an infield single and pitching seven solid innings Saturday as the New York Mets ended a six-game skid by beating the Houston Astros 3-1.
Justin Turner hit his first homer of the season and Jason Bay snapped an 0-for-14 slump with an RBI single in the eighth to end a stretch of offensive futility for the Mets. New York went seven straight games without scoring more than two runs for the first time since September 1982.
The run-scoring hit brought cheers for Bay from the 29,906 in attendance on Mike Piazza bobblehead day. The struggling slugger came in hitting .145 and was only playing because Houston starter Fernando Abad was a left-hander. He received mocking cheers when he walked in the fourth but was otherwise booed lustily.
Dickey (16-4) again showed why he has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season, giving up just five singles in tying the NL's Gio Gonzalez and Johnny Cueto and the AL's Jered Weaver and David Price for the major league lead.
The 37-year-old knuckleballer's little chopper about 40 feet up first base line in the fourth inning gave the Mets their first hit with runners in scoring position this series. They were 0 for 4 in a 3-1 loss to the hapless Astros on Friday night and had been 0 for 5 against Abad (0-1).
Dickey beat out the play when Abad bounded off the mound and picked up the ball just as catcher Jason Castro barreled into him, the pair tumbling to the turf while the lefty flipped the ball to first base. The desperation toss arrived too late and the Mets had the lead. The RBI was Dickey's third this season and 10th of his career.
Dickey didn't get much of a breather after the sprint up the line as Andres Torres struck out to end the inning. The first-time All-Star then gave up consecutive one-out hits in the fifth to Castro, Brandon Barnes and Brian Bogusevic. But pinch-hitter Steve Pearce grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to preserve the lead.
Turner's homer leading off the sixth against reliever Mickey Storey just squeaked over the old homer wall in the left-field corner for a 2-0 lead.
Dickey started off the seventh by hitting Scott Moore with a pitch and Tyler Greene followed with a single to put runners on first and third. Ronny Cedeno made a leaping catch at second base for the first out then Moore scored on a wild pitch. After a walk, Bogusevic ended the rally with a double-play grounder to short.
Manager Terry Collins chose to hit for Dickey in the bottom half after the durable staff leader had thrown just 86 pitches, his fewest in a start since tossing 84 on July 14. Dickey walked one, hit a batter and struck out two.
Frank Francisco pitched a perfect ninth for his 21st save.
Abad made 81 relief appearances over three seasons, going 1-5 with a 4.65 ERA. He made 30 relief appearances this season and had no record before being sent to Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he pitched for the team's then-manager Tony DeFrancesco. Now the Astros' interim manager, DeFrancesco earned his first big league win Friday.
NOTES: Astros sent reliever Chuckie Fick to Triple-A Oklahoma City. ... Collins said Lucas Duda will see most of his action in left field when he is recalled after Sept. 1. ... The Mets honored Piazza, the 12-time All-Star catcher, with a video on the main scoreboard during the game. ... A pair of rookies face off Sunday: Houston's Lucas Harrell (10-9) vs. New York's Jeremy Hefner (2-5).