R.A. Dickey has had a memorable season, including consecutive one-hitters and an All-Star team selection.
On Thursday, Dickey broke a streak of rare ineffectiveness this season.
After throwing consecutive one-hitters last month, Dickey had won just one of four starts — getting no-decisions in three of them. In his past two, he gave up five runs in each game.
He had help from David Wright, who homered twice and had five RBIs and Dickey won his league-leading 13th game and the New York Mets broke a six-game losing streak with a 9-5 win over the Washington Nationals.
Dickey (13-1) pitched 7 1-3 innings. He gave up four runs — three earned — and 10 hits. He walked one and struck out five.
"I haven't pitched as well as I have in that streak. That's hard to expect," Dickey said.
"You have to have a lot of cooperation. Recently, I've just been so-so. Hopefully, I get a second wind here."
The Mets staked him to a 9-1 lead on a hot, humid day.
Dickey said it wasn't really that hot. He compared it with a day when the temperature reached 115 degrees in Zulia, Venezuela, in winter ball.
"I threw a three-hit shutout. I just tried to remember that. I've done this before," Dickey said.
He tried not to put too much pressure on himself to break the streak.
"I don't think anybody has panicked. As far as this being a 'must-win,' if you do that, you're just going to run out of gas quickly," Dickey said.
"If you play that game, you'll drain yourself mentally before it's even the end of August."
The Nationals lead Atlanta, which won Thursday afternoon by 3 1/2 games. The Mets are seven back.
"From here on out, a win is obviously a big win. We've dug ourselves a big hole, but the funny thing is we've haven't played terribly," Wright said.
"I think we've given an inning away here and there on this road trip, and that's come back to cost us, but it seemed like every game we had a chance to win."
New York manager Terry Collins called a team meeting before Wednesday's game and he was hopeful that Dickey could put a stop to the slide.
"If you're getting past four games, that means they're beating your aces," Collins said.
"We needed one of them to stand up."
Wright hit a two-run shot in the first — his 13th off Gio Gonzalez (12-5), who was rocked for six runs in 3 1-3 innings — his shortest start of the season.
Wright's second home run, his 14th, a three-run blast, came in the fourth off Craig Stammen. He also homered in his last at-bat in Wednesday night's game.
"Nobody matches up that good against David Wright right now," Washington manager Davey Johnson said.
Ike Davis homered in the second and had an RBI single in the third and Ruben Tejada had two hits and an RBI for the Mets.
Gonzalez allowed six runs and six hits in his second attempt to win his 13th.
"A good team like that, the way they swing the bat, if you leave anything up there, they're gonna make you pay for it. I learned firsthand about that," Gonzalez said.
The Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman hit a first-inning home run, his 11th, and by the time Washington scored again, the Mets had an eight-run lead.
Michael Morse had two RBIs for the Nationals.