Harvey's bounceback effort saved by Parnell
NEW YORK -- With a single dominant start on Tuesday at Citi Field, Matt Harvey erased so much of went wrong over the previous four. With five outs of relief, Bobby Parnell expunged his own frustrations of the past two years.
Harvey pitched seven shutout innings of four-hit ball, doubling home a run on offense, and Parnell recorded his first save in 22 months in the Mets' 3-2 win over the Blue Jays. The Mets swept their sixth home series of the season and have won all 11 home games they've played against the Blue Jays.
"Harvey was as advertised tonight," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We felt good when he came out of the game, because we knew their bullpen was beat up, too. We made a run at it, just came up short."
Harvey's RBI double highlighted three early Mets runs off Blue Jays starter Scott Copeland, who lasted only four innings in his second career start. Though the Blue Jays battled back with two runs in the eighth off Carlos Torres, Parnell ended that inning before effectively subbing for unavailable closer Jeurys Familia with a scoreless bottom of the ninth.
Both Parnell and Harvey worked their way back this season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
"Matt Harvey is back, and Bobby Parnell is back," said Mets skipper Terry Collins, who passed Gil Hodges for sole possession of third place on the Mets' all-time managerial wins list. "And if this continues, it's going to change the dynamics of what we face here in the next three months. To have them both pitch like they did tonight, consistently, is going to be really important."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
He's baaaaack: Other than the leadoff double Edwin Encarnacion hit off him in the second inning, Harvey allowed virtually no hard-hit balls. The strikeouts began piling up late in the game for Harvey, who froze Chris Colabello to open the seventh inning and whiffed Russell Martin, walking off the field as chants of "HAR-VEY, HAR-VEY" rained down around him. He finished with six K's. More >
Running wild: Toronto was threatening in the top of the eighth with runners on first and second when Jose Reyes hit a single to right. With the heart of the order due up, coach Tim Leiper made the wise decision to hold Goins at third and not risk an out, but Kevin Pillar wasn't watching the play in front of him. Pillar rounded second and was halfway to third before he realized there was nowhere to go. That led to a costly out, and the Blue Jays paid for it; Jose Bautista hit a sacrifice fly and Encarnacion hit an RBI single, but they came up one run short. More >
Early offense is enough: The Mets rapped out eight hits in only four innings against Copeland, plating three runs over the second and third innings. Ruben Tejada opened the scoring with an RBI single, plating Wilmer Flores, before crossing home himself on Harvey's RBI double. An inning later, Flores hit a sacrifice fly to extend New York's margin to three runs.
Missed opportunities: The Blue Jays weren't able to do much of anything against Harvey, but there were a couple of chances in the fifth and sixth innings that could have changed their fortunes. In the fifth, Toronto had runners on first and second with one out, but Goins struck out and pinch-hitter Justin Smoak hit a weak grounder to end the threat. In the sixth, Bautista hit a triple to deep center field with two outs, but Encarnacion wasn't able to cash him in.
Parnell for five outs: Planning to stay away from Familia due to his heavy recent workload, the Mets initially hoped to navigate the eighth inning with Torres. When that didn't work, they turned instead to Parnell, who allowed two inherited runs to score before retiring four in a row for his first save since July 30, 2013. More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Blue Jays had a well-documented stretch at Yankee Stadium in which they lost 17 consecutive games until that skid was broken last season, but their struggles in New York against the Mets have been almost as bad. Toronto is 0-11 all-time at the old Shea Stadium and the new Citi Field combined.
Harvey's double improved the collective batting average of Mets pitchers to .172, passing the Reds for tops in the National League. But Harvey's .115 average still ranks last among active Mets starters. Noah Syndergaard is first, at .333. (Bartolo Colon, if you must know, is at .154.)
"He was running with his head down, never really looked up. It gave them an out right there when we really had them on the ropes, but it's over with and we'll move on." -- Gibbons, on Pillar's baserunning mistake in the eighth inning
Blue Jays: The Blue Jays will continue their home-and-home series with the Mets when right-hander Drew Hutchison takes the mound at 7:07 ET on Wednesday night at Rogers Centre. Hutchison will be looking to bounce back after one of the worst outings of his career. Toronto's Opening Day starter allowed eight runs over 2 1/3 innings against the Red Sox, but he escaped without taking the loss thanks to 13 runs from the offense.
Mets: After clearing Customs, left-hander Jon Niese will kick off the second half of the Mets' series in a 7:07 p.m. ET game at Rogers Centre. Pitching with his job on the line as recently as two weeks ago, Niese has responded with a 3.46 ERA and 4.0 K/BB ratio over his last two starts.
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