Every time Matt Harvey pitches it seems he is in a pitching duel with another top starter. Thursday it was Adam Wainwright in the rubber game of the series with the Cardinals. It also seems like the Mets either cannot or will not score runs for him. And this time it resulted in Harvey’s first loss of the season.
The Cardinals took a 1-0 lead in the third inning with a single and a Matt Carpenter triple.
Cards manager Mike Matheny forced Harvey out of the game in the bottom of the seventh. With Marlon Byrd on second with two outs, Matheny decided to intentionally walk Kirk Nieuwenhuis. With Harvey due up next, Terry Collins pinch hit for him. It worked because Justin Turner grounded out to end the inning.
It was a risky move for the Cardinals because it put the potential tie-breaking run on base. And given the Mets inability to score, Collins had to use a pinch hitter in that situation with the tying run in scoring position.
So Matt Harvey went seven innings, allowing one run on five hits. He struck out seven and walked one. It was another solid, fruitless start for Harvey.
Wainwright also went seven, allowing no runs on four hits (two by David Wright). He struck out six and walked two.
With Harvey gone, the Cardinals teed-off on the Mets bullpen. Scott Rice allowed a one-out hit to Carpenter, but he was caught stealing for the second out. Good thing because Carlos Beltran then hit long single. Rice was lifted in favor of LaTroy Hawkins. Matt Holliday hit a single to deep right, Beltran had to stop at third. Allen Craig then singled to make it 2-0.
Wright got his third single of the game with two outs in the eighth inning but Daniel Murphy struck out to end the inning.
That insurance run in the eighth was huge for St. Louis because with one out in the ninth, Marlon Byrd hit a long solo home run off closer Edward Mujica to cut the Cardinals lead to 2-1. John Buck then doubled to put the potential tying run on second. Collin Cowgill came it to pinch run for Buck. Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit a sharp grounder to second, but Carpenter made a nice play and threw Nieuwenhuis out at first. Cowgill advanced to third. With the game on the line, Josh Satin was called on to pinch hit. He struck out on a 3-2 count to end the game.
Mets lose 2-1. Matt Harvey is now 5-1 with a 2.04 ERA.