(Reuters) - R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets became the first knuckleball pitcher ever to win a Cy Young Award, while Tampa Bay Rays' left-hander David Price won the American League's top pitching award after the closest vote in 43 years.

Dickey, who turned 38 last month, confounded hitters by being able to change speeds on his dipping, darting knuckleball, posting a 20-6 record with a 2.73 earned run average. He led the National League in innings (233.2) and strikeouts (230).

It was a breakthrough year for Dickey, who the previous season was 8-13 and has a career mark of 61-56 over 10 seasons.

Dickey received 27 of 32 first-place votes cast and five second-place votes for a comfortable win with 209 points.

Finishing second was last year's winner Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The lefty, who was 14-4 with a league-leading 2.53 ERA, got 98 points, with Washington Nationals' left-hander Gio Gonzalez (21-8, 2.89 ERA) taking third place.

Price was second in the American League voting two years ago but came out on top this time, edging last season's Cy Young and Most Valuable Player winner Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers by the narrowest margin since a tie in the 1969 voting.

The Rays' left-hander (20-5, 2.56 ERA) was named first on 14 of the 28 ballots and totaled 153 points, while Verlander (17-8, 2.64 ERA) received 13 first-place votes and garnered 149 points.

Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels was a distant third in the voting.