SAN FRANCISCO -- Matt Harvey's second start in a Reds uniform against the Giants on Wednesday was nowhere near as crisp and clean as his debut. Harvey was often in stressful situations and on the brink of giving up a big inning.
In the Reds' 6-3 win, Harvey gave up three runs and seven hits over four innings with no walks and five strikeouts. Since he did not pitch at least five innings, he didn't qualify for a win.
"I wasn't able to execute pitches when I needed to," Harvey said. "I came in after the second inning, and I was sitting there thinking I was tipping pitches because they were not missing anything."
It turned out that Harvey wasn't tipping his pitches. He and catcher Tucker Barnhart realized there was a mechanical flaw.
"We felt like he needed to stay closed a little bit longer. But the overall stuff was the same," Barnhart said. "He was pulling his fastball a little bit, which was affecting everything else."
Fortunately for him, the Reds staked Harvey to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning but San Francisco quickly responded with back-to-back doubles by Gregor Blanco and Andrew McCutchen for a run -- both after they were in 0-2 counts.
"He got in a bad way on an 0-2 breaking ball that Blanco hit, and as the game went on, he had some 1-2 counts where they got hits and you've got to put them away when you've got two strikes on them," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "It just wasn't there."
Following a one-out single by Evan Longoria, Adam Duvall made a spectacular running catch as he fell at the warning track to take away a hit from Pablo Sandoval. Sandoval instead settled for a sacrifice fly.
Harvey opened the second inning by allowing a single and double but retired the rest of the side in order to keep his lead. Brandon Belt opened the third inning with a homer to right field. After a Longoria single, Harvey retired five of the last six batters he faced with strikeouts -- including the side in the fourth inning -- and departed with a 4-3 lead.
"I was telling Tucker after the game that after the home run to Belt, I threw a pitch to [Longoria], I kind of felt it click. I realized I was flying open and wasn't really getting out front and executing pitches the way I wanted to. [Barnhart] came over and said the ball had a little extra life and kind of snuck up on him. I'm glad I was able to make that adjustment."
But with 77 pitches and three action-packed innings before Harvey settled down, Riggleman showed a quick hook for Harvey and sent reliever Wandy Peralta out to pitch the fifth inning.
"He was in trouble about three times," Riggleman said. "The  pitches indicated he might give us one more [inning]. Rather than do that, I felt like we'll just let Wandy start his own inning instead of maybe sending him out there."
In his debut vs. the Dodgers, following his trade from the Mets for catcher Devin Mesoraco, Harvey threw four scoreless innings with only a triple allowed because a ball was lost in the lights. Despite his second start being less effective, he felt it was a good step forward.
"Unfortunately, I came out after the fourth. I took a peek at how many pitches I had. It had creeped up pretty good," said Harvey, who has a 6.17 ERA in 10 games and six starts with the Mets and Reds. "Other than that, I was happy the way I finished."