Matt Harvey Not Great, Mets Lose to Pirates

After dropping two out of the first three games against the Pirates at home, the Mets really needed a win on Sunday in the finale. They had Matt Harvey on the mound, so you’d figure it was all-but a done deal. Well, Harvey did not have his best stuff, but he managed to keep the Mets in the game. However the inept offense and a leaky bullpen sent the Mets down to their third straight defeat.

matt harvey
Juan Lagares makes incredible circus catch against Pirates.
Screenshot courtesy SNY

Lucas Duda got the Mets on the board in the second with a solo home run to center field. It was Duda’s eighth home run of the year to go along with his 12 RBIs. How is that even possible?!

However Matt Harvey gave the run right back in the bottom of the third when Clint Barmes took him deep to tie the game at one.

Juan Lagares made one of the better circus catches you’ll ever see on the next batter. Opposing pitcher Jeanmar Gomez hit a sinking liner to center. Lagares dove for the shoestring catch. It bounced out of his glove, but luckily it bounced forward and Lagares was able to snag it as he continued his dive.

Good thing he made that catch because Harvey then walked Starling Marte and allowed a hit and run single to Travis Snider to put runners in first and third with one out. He walked Andrew McCutchen to load the bases. Garrett Jones flew out to right, scoring Marte on the sacrifice fly to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead. Harvey was able to get Jordy Mercer to pop out to end the inning.

The Mets got a huge assist when Pirates manager Clint Hurdle removed Gomez from the game after five innings and just 65 pitches. Gomez baffled Mets bats, allowing just two hits. Gomez started the season in the bullpen and this was only his third start, so perhaps Hurdle wants to bring him along slowly. But Gomez has been a starter for most of his career, so he should have been able to go further.

The Mets cashed in against the Pirates bullpen in the seventh. John Buck walked with one out. He went to second on a wild pitch. Mike Baxter, the new Mr. Clutch, singled to right as Buck motored home to tie the game at two. By the way, Buck stole his first base since 2009 earlier in the game. Perhaps inspired by Buck’s sudden base running abilities, Baxter stole second. Lagares struck out, but Baxter stole third on the play. Justin Turner pinch hit for Harvey but he struck out to strand Baxter at third.

So Matt Harvey went seven innings and 101 pitches. After his early trouble he settled down and seemed to get better as the game went on. He allowed two runs on five hits, with two walks and four strikeouts — his lowest strikeout total of the season. Harvey’s record remains at 4-0 after his fourth straight no decision. His ERA ballooned to 1.44, up from 1.28.

Scott Rice, making his league-leading 21st appearance, got the first out in the eighth but then walked McCutchen. Brandon Lyon came on and walked Gaby Sanchez. Lyon struck out Jose Tabata for the second out. Bobby Parnell was summoned and he allowed a single to Pedro Alvarez to give the Pirates a 3-2 lead.

Daniel Murphy broke out of an 0-17 slump with a double in the eighth with one out. Murphy advanced to third on a passed ball. David Wright walked (they were pitching around him). Ike Davis struck out for the second out as Wright stole second. Duda then hit a shot that hit off the first base bag. That’s usually good, as the ball will bounce somewhere crazy. But this time it bounced right to second baseman Brandon Inge, who tossed to the pitcher covering for the final out to keep it a 3-2 game.

The Mets went quietly in the ninth to end a 2-4 homestand.

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