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PETERSBURG -- By the ninth inning Wednesday night, there was little doubt in Terry Collins' mind that the Mets would appeal B.J. Upton's base hit back in the first inning.
David Wright reached out his right arm as he moved toward the speedy Upton's two-out chopper down the third-base line, but he couldn't make the barehanded grab. At the time, the fact that the play was ruled a hit seemed relatively inconsequential.
It turned out to be the only hit Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey would allow all night in a 9-1 victory over the Rays at Tropicana Field. So after 50 long years without a no-hitter, the Mets could be one generous decision away from recording two in less than two weeks.
"We said in the ninth inning that we've got to appeal that play. We're probably not going to win it, but ... what the heck? What do you got to lose except to have somebody say no?" Collins said. "You've just got to give him his due. He deserves it."
If the appeal were to go in Dickey's favor, he would be credited after the fact with the Mets' second no-hitter. He lost his perfect game when Elliot Johnson reached on a throwing error by Wright in the ninth, advanced to third on two passed balls and scored on a groundout to shortstop Omar Quintanilla.
In Johan Santana's no hitter on June 1, there was an immediate controversy regarding a foul ball hit by Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran, but the Mets' stance on this appeal was best summed up by Collins' what-the-heck comment.
"A Hail Mary is a good analogy. I don't know. It's up to them," Dickey said. "You'd have to look. B.J.'s quick. I've seen David make that play a lot of times with his bare hands. You give him 10 times, he's going to make it eight. It just kicked off his palm a little bit."
"I tried to make the play. I didn't make it. It's as simple as that," Wright added. "If they want to go back and give me an error, they can do that.
"I wish it would've been somebody a little bit slower where I could've taken my time and gloved it. It's also the first inning. Had I known that it was going to be a one-hitter, maybe I would've tried a little harder or something, you know?"
Upton said he knew as soon as he hit the ball that it would be a tough play for Wright, and Rays manager Joe Maddon said he agreed with the initial ruling.
"Of course you think you're going to get more [hits] at that point, but I thought it was," Maddon said. "A combination of speed, how the ball was hit, it was kind of bouncing away from David, so I thought it was a hit. I thought that was fair."
Dickey compared Wednesday's 12-strikeout masterpiece to the one-hitter he threw against the Phillies on Aug. 13, 2010, when Philadelphia pitcher Cole Hamels singled to right field in the sixth inning. Dickey found another similarity between the two outings: He didn't have any regrets about either one.
"I might kill David tomorrow about it," Dickey joked. "But not right now."