Matt Harvey’s development into a major league pitcher continued Thursday night. In his first four starts he couldn’t make it past the sixth inning. Well, Harvey pitched into the eighth inning against the Reds as the Mets salvaged the final game of the series.
Ike Davis gave the Mets their first lead of the series with a solo shot leading off the fourth inning. Davis now has 21 home runs. With two outs Jason Bay reached on an infield single and went to second on a throwing error. Kelly Shoppach was intentionally walked and Harvey doubled to center to plate two runs to make it 3-0.
The Mets broke things open in the sixth. With one out Bay homered for the first time since July 18 to make it 4-0. Shoppach reached on an error and Harvey sacrificed him to second. With two outs Ruben Tejada doubled to score Shoppach to make it 5-0. Then Mike Baxter singled home Tejada to extend the lead to 6-0.
The Reds finally got to Harvey in the seventh, scoring a run on a Jay Bruce double.
In the eighth Harvey allowed a single, got two outs, then walked a batter. Terry Collins lifted him there, bringing in Bobby Parnell to get the final out of the inning, which he was able to do with a strikeout.
In all Harvey, who kept the Reds hitless through 4.2 innings before allowing an infield single, went 7.2 innings, allowing one run on four hits, striking out eight and walking one. Matt Harvey is now 2-3 with a 3.00 ERA. He has 34 strikeouts in 30 innings with just 13 walks.
The Mets added two runs in the ninth — on a Davis double and an error.
Good thing the Mets scored those extra runs because Frank Francisco was terrible in the ninth. Pitching for the first time since nearly blowing Sunday’s game against the Braves, he allowed a leadoff home run to Ryan Ludwick, followed by a single and a walk. Francisco got the next two outs, but Miguel Cairo singled to make it 8-3. Then Zack Cozart doubled to cut the lead to 8-4. Collins finally pulled the plug on Francisco, bringing in Jon Rauch to clean up the mess with runners on second and third. Just like he did on Sunday, Rauch was up to the task, striking out Wilson Valdez and picking up his third save of the season.
Mets win 8-4.