Seven years ago, Buck Showalter convinced R.A. Dickey he had to learn a knuckleball. Showalter was manager of the Texas Rangers and Dickey was a fringe major league pitcher about to be released.
Seven years later, Showalter is the manager of the Baltimore Orioles, and he watched Dickey, now of the New York Mets toy with his team, allowing just one hit in the Mets' 5-0 win over the Orioles before 29,014 at Citi Field on Monday night.
"It's pleasant to see him, but not see him pitch," Showalter said.
Dickey has done what no pitcher in 24 years has done, throw consecutive one-hitters, and the Orioles were one-hit for the first time since July 1, 2011 when Atlanta's Jair Jurrjens stifled them.
"It's a challenging night," Showalter said. "Hitters are seeing things they don't normally see. Umpires are seeing pitches they don't normally see. Tonight, it was a challenge for both."
Dickey (11-1) leads the major leagues in wins, and he allowed just a fifth-inning single to Wilson Betemit. He walked Orioles' starter Jake Arrieta in the third and Betemit in the eighth. The knuckleballer struck out a career-high 13 batters.
"It's pretty incredible how he is able to command it the way he is and make it move as much as he does," Arrieta said. "Personally, I think he is the best pitcher in the game right now. I don't know if there is a question about it."
Showalter spoke generously about him before the game, and Dickey returned the favor afterward.
"I would be remiss if I didn't say thank you to him. He's the one that gave me the opportunity to cultivate that pitch," Dickey said. "He gave me the canvas to be able to operate on."
Arrieta's line looked much worse than his actual performance. He allowed four runs, but threw just one bad pitch to New York's Ike Davis. With the bases loaded and two outs, Arrieta left a sinker out over the plate, and Davis hit a grand-slam home run, his seventh home run of the season.
"I knew coming in I would have to limit them to two runs or less, and that was a big blow in the sixth, but overall I am happy with it," Arrieta said.
Arrieta (3-9) allowed six hits, walked one and struck out four.
Chris Davis and Matt Wieters each struck out three times.
"You can't really guess where it's going to break. Sometimes it's cutting in, other times it's diving away. You just got to go out there and try to put it in play, hit it hard," Davis said.
Davis is now mired in an 0-for-16 slump.
"It's frustrating when you go against a force like that. You are not going to have a lot of success. He was all over the place and trying to hit it was almost impossible tonight," Davis said.
The Orioles (39-28) had two consecutive shutouts on Saturday and Sunday in Atlanta and had a streak of 25 scoreless innings broken.
The Mets (36-32) added a run in the eighth off Kevin Gregg.
NOTES: Showalter ruled out Nolan Reimold playing before the All-Star break. Reimold, who last played on Apr. 30, and was transferred to the 60-day disabled list on June 12, saw a second cervical spine specialist for his herniated disc at Johns Hopkins on Monday. ... Adam Jones is fourth among American League outfielders in All-Star voting. He trails Toronto's Jose Bautista by about 37,000 votes. Texas' Josh Hamilton and New York's Curtis Granderson are first and second. Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy are third among catchers and shortstops. "I've voted all the times I can," Showalter said. Fans are limited to 25 votes per e-mail address. ... The Orioles signed three draft picks, right-handed pitchers Nick Grim (17th round) and Dennis Torres (28th round) and catcher Steel Russell (32nd round), son of bench coach John Russell. They also signed first baseman Nik Balog as a free agent.