R. A. Dickey, an avid reader, has for the length of this season personified a most unfortunate literary archetype: the gracious loser.

Dickey has the lowest earned run average of any Mets starter, but has only eight wins this season to show for it. On Saturday against the Atlanta Braves, he had one of his best outings of the season and produced his 11th consecutive quality start. But as has been the case all year, the plot turned against him.

Dickey's foil this time was his counterpart Tim Hudson, whose sinker slipped in and out of the late-afternoon shadows at Turner Field, incapacitating the Mets batters for eight innings.