Pitcher delivers RBI double, while Wright collects four extra-base hits
Special to MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- For his latest trick, Matt Harvey not only pitched successfully to more contact, but also made some himself.
By this stage of his short and brilliant 26-game Major League career, Harvey's double up the right-center-field gap to key a three-run Mets fifth inning was the more startling achievement of his rain-shortened six scoreless innings Sunday, but by no means the more impressive.
Harvey, coming off a 13-strikeout performance in Atlanta, fanned six and allowed only two hits during the Mets' 8-0 victory before manager Terry Collins decided not to send his phenom back out following a 20-minute rain delay in the top of the seventh. But the kid, who moved his record to 7-1 and lowered his ERA to 2.05, had brought plenty of swing-and-miss stuff when needed, striking out Domonic Brown twice with 100- and 99-mph high fastballs during the only two Phillies threats of the game.
"I think you will see 100 [mph] at times, don't think you will see it every inning," said Collins. "Matt knows those six-pitch innings when you get fly balls and ground balls, those really count to get you through the season, instead of trying to get 250 strikeouts."
There is a time and a place. And it was not a good time to be in Ben Revere's place when Harvey, who had surrendered a Ryan Howard single to start the second, blew a 100-mph fastball through Revere's wheelhouse to end the threat.
"Yeah, I let that one go," Harvey smiled.
The Mets, who had rallied from a 7-1 deficit to tie Saturday's game in the ninth, only to lose on Kevin Frandsen's walk-off homer, picked their broken hearts off the ground with ease Sunday, knowing who was going to the hill for them.
"I thought the [Phillies] might be in trouble when the first pitch of the game is a curveball for a strike," said David Wright. "I saw the look on Jimmy Rollins' face and then looked into their bench.
"Guy throws upper 90s, then he throws a curve for a strike. Pretty impressive. By now you are running out of things to say. It's Matt Harvey. Nothing to say about him now that hasn't been said before."
Collins, at least, found the words "that's enough" when he told Harvey his day was done after only 72 pitches.
"Not worth it, just can't take the chance," said the manager. "There is too much upside."
And Harvey said he understood.
"Absolutely," he said. "If [the delay] had been 10 minutes, it might have been a different story, but we had a six, seven run lead and have an off-day tomorrow for the bullpen."
That bullpen, by the way, has now allowed two earned runs in 27 innings after LaTroy Hawkins and Brandon Lyon finished up almost as cleanly as had Harvey. It's good to have some working room, and the Mets' usually challenged offense had taken huge advantage of second-base umpire D.J. Reyburn's ruling that Revere dropped Juan Lagares' fly ball to lead off the fifth.
After gloving the ball, Revere unsuccessfully tried to drop it into his bare hand, and Reyburn flagged the unconventional glove-to-hand exchange. After an argument by Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and a conference of the umpires, the error stood. Lagares stayed at third when Omar Quintanilla tapped to the drawn-in Rollins, but Phillies starter John Lannan left a 1-2 fastball over the plate to Harvey, who smacked it up against the fence in right-center on one hop, scoring Lagares and opening up a big inning.
"Locked in," smiled Harvey, meaning Harvey, the batter.
Later in the game, he almost decapitated reliever Joe Savery with another drive before the Phillies pitcher recovered to get the out. No blood was shed, but in the fifth, the Mets had smelled it in the aftermath of Revere's gift.
Eric Young scored Harvey with a double, then scored on Wright's double. With the score 3-0, that was plenty of breathing room for Harvey, but when Lannan walked Josh Satin and John Buck to lead off the sixth, the Mets added more. Lagares' double scored Satin, and Buck came in on Quintanilla's sacrifice fly to boost the lead to 6-0.
Marlon Byrd doubled in Wright, who had tripled, for the seventh run in the seventh, and Wright provided the exclamation point with a homer in the ninth -- his fourth extra-base hit of the game, which tied a Mets record. The previous Mets player to have four extra-base hits in a game was Edgardo Alfonzo on Aug. 30, 1999, at Houston.
"It's huge to have Marlon swing the bat the way he is behind me, because I am seeing better pitches to hit," said Wright, who is hitting .405 with nine extra-base hits, five homers and 11 RBIs in his last 17 games. "When the guy behind you is swinging the bat well, they are going to be less likely to throw you 3-1 sliders and more likely to challenge you.
"He has set the table for us and provided some thump. ... He's been a tremendous shot in the arm for us."
No pitcher has been a shot in the arm to the franchise like Harvey's. This was his ninth start of the season in which he has thrown six or more innings while allowing one or zero earned runs.
With Chase Utley at second on a leadoff double off a curveball in the fourth, it appeared the pitcher was working smartly around the red-hot Ryan Howard in issuing a four-pitch walk. Appearances were deceiving.
"Not at all," Harvey said. "I got out of whack a little bit.
"The outcome of the situation was good, but I don't like pitching around anybody."
The outcome was good, because he blew one at 99 mph past Brown, then got Delmon Young to tap weekly into a forceout. That was the last sniff at a run the Phillies got against Harvey, for reasons most simply put by Revere at the end of the day: