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December, 6, 2016

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Dickey scuttles Pirates' ship with knuckleball

NEW YORK -- R.A. Dickey became the first knuckleballer to win 20 games in more than three decades, tying his career-high with 13 strikeouts and leading the New York Mets over Pittsburgh Pirates 6-5 Thursday behind David Wright's tiebreaking, three-run homer.

A 37-year-old knuckleballer who had never won more than 11 games in any previous season, Dickey (20-6) overcame an outstanding, climbing catch by Travis Snider more than 2 feet above the right-field wall that robbed Mike Baxter of a tying home run in the second inning.

Dickey allowed three runs and eight hits in 7 2-3 innings, walking two and reaching double digits in strikeouts for the seventh time this season. He leads the NL with 222 Ks.

Kevin Correia (11-11) gave up six runs and seven hits.

Athletics 7, Rangers 9 Ian Kinsler got Texas started with a leadoff homer, Matt Harrison earned his 18th victory and the AL West-leading Rangers held on to win 9-7 Thursday for a four-game split with the chasing Oakland Athletics.

The two-time defending American League champion Rangers (92-64) have a four-game division lead over the A's with six to play, including three games in Oakland next week. The Athletics own a two-game edge in the race for the second wild card.

Kinsler's 19th homer, his major league-best seventh leadoff shot this season, started a five-run first for the Rangers against Travis Blackley (5-4). The Rangers had four consecutive two-out hits, capped by Mike Napoli's two-run homer.

Harrison (18-10) went six innings, allowing four runs, to become the Rangers' first 18-game winner since Kenny Rogers in 2004.

Josh Reddick went deep twice, including one of Oakland's three solo homers in the eighth off reliever Mike Adams. Joe Nathan worked a perfect ninth with two strikeouts for his 36th save in 38 chances.

The Rangers are one win from clinching a playoff berth.

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