Matt Harvey sure doesn’t like to play second fiddle. While Tuesday will go down in Mets history as the day Zack Wheeler made his major league debut in Game 2 of a doubleheader, Harvey made sure he wouldn’t be forgotten on this day. He held the Braves hitless through six innings in Game 1 until faltering in the eighth, but the Mets were able to hang on for the win.
The Mets got a run in the third inning thanks to a lot of hustle. With David Wright on first and Daniel Murphy on second with two outs, Marlon Byrd hit a grounder to third. Chris Johnson was going to go to second, but Wright was running hard to the base. He had to change direction and throw to first, but Byrd hustled down the line and beat the throw. Meantime Murphy never stopped running after rounding third and was able to beat the play at home to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.
Braves starter Alex Wood was removed the game after three innings because of a blister problem on his finger. John Buck greeted reliever Cory Rasmus with a home run into the seats in left field to extend the lead to 2-0. After hitting nine home runs in April, Buck now has 12 on the season.
Matt Harvey finally allowed a hit in the seventh. Jason Heyward led off with a slow grounder between the mound and first base. Harvey ran to field it and flipped it… to no one. Lucas Duda, in his second game at first this season, came in to try to field the ball instead of retreating back to first like he should have. Harvey might have been able to tag Heyward if he knew Duda was not there.
Byrd doubled with one out in the eighth. Duda was intentionally walked and Buck was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Pinch hitter Jordany Valdespin walked to force in a run to make it 3-0. Omar Quintanilla hit a sacrifice fly to give the Mets a 4-0 lead.
Harvey was back on the mound for the eighth with a nice, rare four-run cushion, and he promptly walked the first batter on four pitches. He got Dan Uggla to hit a grounder to third. Wright had to back up on it and he couldn’t make the play. It was ruled a hit, but should have been an error. Andrelton Simmons hit a sharp grounder past Wright to load the bases, and that was all for Matt Harvey. LaTroy Hawkins struck out pinch hitter Brian McCann for the first out. Jordan Schafer hit a hot smash past Wright to plate two to make it a 4-2 game. With runners on first and second Justin Upton was the pinch hitter. He hit a grounder to short for a force play at second for the second out. Scott Rice came in with runners on first and third to face Heyward. He hit a liner off of Duda’s glove for a run-scoring double to make it 4-3. Freddie Freeman was intentionally walked to load the bases. Bobby Parnell came on and struck out Chris Johnson to keep the Mets in the lead.
So Matt Harvey threw 116 pitches over seven innings, allowing three runs on three hits. He walked three and struck out a career high 13 Braves. It was the third time this season that Harvey carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning.
Parnell got the first out in the ninth but then Uggla hit a grounder to Wright and once again he had to back up on it. Uggla beat the long through to first. Simmons flew out to center for the second out. Pinch hitter B.J. Upton grounded out to second as the Mets held on for a 4-3 win.
Matt Harvey is now 6-1, his first win since May 17. Now we wait for Wheeler to upstage him.