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03/22/12 4:00 PM ET

Well-supported Dickey dominates Astros

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- He may have fallen short of a no-no, but New York's R.A. Dickey certainly looks ready for the regular season.

Dickey carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning on Thursday, leading the Mets to an 8-2 victory over the Astros at Digital Domain Park. Despite walking the leadoff batter three times in the first six innings, Dickey did not allow a hit until Justin Ruggiano followed the third of those walks with a single. Dickey rebounded to retire the next three batters on groundouts, allowing Houston's first run to score on the second of them.

"It's Spring Training, just kind of a different atmosphere," Dickey said. "But I was executing what I wanted to do, and that was most important to me. So I didn't really think about it."

The knuckleballer struck out the only batter he faced in the seventh, whiffing Carlos Lee to end his finest -- and longest -- spring start to date. The outing lowered his Grapefruit league ERA, from 6.45 to 4.05.

Not quite as sharp was Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez, who allowed a leadoff homer to Ruben Tejada and walked in runs in the first and fourth innings. Only two of the four runs he allowed in his 3 2/3 innings were earned, which actually lowered his Grapefruit League ERA to 8.10 in three starts.

Outfielder Jason Bay singled, walked and stole a base for the Mets, and has now reached base safely in seven consecutive Grapefruit League games.

Up next: The bullpen competition will continue on Friday, with Miguel Batista, Daniel Herrera and Josh Edgin all scheduled to pitch against the Braves. Though lefties Herrera and Edgin remain a step behind Garrett Olson in the race for the one available specialist job, right-hander Batista is in good shape to make the Opening Day roster at the age of 41. All will pitch in relief of starter Jonathan Niese in the 1:05 p.m. ET game.

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.