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Reds fall as Harvey allows 8 runs in short outing

Pirates' homers are first allowed by right-hander since June 8
MLB.com @m_sheldon

CINCINNATI -- The non-waiver Trade Deadline is July 31, which means that Matt Harvey could get one more start before the Reds decide whether or not they want to move him. But if scouts put too much stock in Harvey's disastrous performance on Sunday vs. the Pirates, the phone of baseball operations president Dick Williams might not ring as much.

Overall, Harvey has been a success story since his May 8 acquisition from the Mets, but that was certainly not the case during a 9-2 Reds loss to Pittsburgh at Great American Ball Park. He turned in the worst start of his brief tenure in Cincinnati with eight earned runs and eight hits -- including a career-high four home runs -- over 3 2/3 innings. The biggest issue? Harvey was unable to locate any of his pitches effectively.

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CINCINNATI -- The non-waiver Trade Deadline is July 31, which means that Matt Harvey could get one more start before the Reds decide whether or not they want to move him. But if scouts put too much stock in Harvey's disastrous performance on Sunday vs. the Pirates, the phone of baseball operations president Dick Williams might not ring as much.

Overall, Harvey has been a success story since his May 8 acquisition from the Mets, but that was certainly not the case during a 9-2 Reds loss to Pittsburgh at Great American Ball Park. He turned in the worst start of his brief tenure in Cincinnati with eight earned runs and eight hits -- including a career-high four home runs -- over 3 2/3 innings. The biggest issue? Harvey was unable to locate any of his pitches effectively.

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"I tried to go in, and it'd go back over the plate. I tried to go away to a righty, and it was tailing down the middle," said Harvey, who had zero walks and two strikeouts. "The slider wasn't doing a whole lot, and that's what's been so successful the last couple of weeks, being able to locate the fastball and work the slider off the bat. It was a rough one, but I'll get back after it this week and get ready for my next one."

Video: PIT@CIN: Riggleman on the Pirates' winning streak

Harvey -- who can be a free agent after the season -- hadn't given up any homers since he allowed three of them on June 8 vs. the Cardinals. The 37-inning streak was the fifth-longest active streak among big league starters.

Over his previous five starts before Sunday, Harvey was 4-0 with a 1.86 ERA.

"That's baseball, you're not going to go the whole season without giving up a home run," Harvey said following Pittsburgh's three-game series sweep of the Reds. "Unfortunately, as good as I was, part of baseball is running into hot bats and when you don't execute pitches and you leave stuff over the middle of the plate, a hot team is going to make you pay, and they did that today."

Video: PIT@CIN: Peraza reacts quickly to make a sliding snag

The game went sour quickly for Harvey after Corey Dickerson opened the game with a double. Two batters later, Gregory Polanco attacked a 1-0 slider and put it in the right-field seats for a two-run homer. It was a 3-0 game in the second inning when Dickerson got a 2-0 off-speed pitch low and inside and pulled it for a two-run homer. Starling Marte made it back-to-back long balls when he lifted a 1-0 fastball to center field.

"I think we put together a pretty good plan and laid off pitches we didn't want to swing at," Dickerson said. "You have to get a pitch to hit because he is pretty good. He has been around a while. You can't give him too many pitches. You try to maximize when you get a pitch to hit you are looking for and don't miss it."

Pittsburgh made it a 7-0 game in the fourth when Sean Rodriguez hit a leadoff homer to center field.

"We've given up some home runs in general, but Harvey has been really been good about it," said Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman, whose club has dropped four straight games. "He hasn't been giving them up. We ran into a hot club there. We've just got to push the reset button and get it going again tomorrow."

Video: CIN@PIT: Herrera lays out for a fine diving grab

A two-out single by Dickerson concluded Harvey's day, but the inherited run scored on Polanco's RBI single against Jackson Stephens.

"There's work to be done to make sure this doesn't happen again, going over video, doing all the work in-between this week. I'm looking forward to my next start," Harvey said.

The goal for Williams and the front office since acquiring Harvey from New York for catcher Devin Mesoraco was to flip him to a contender for a better return -- if he was able to increase his value. Throwing Sunday's game aside, the right-hander has done that. Entering the day, he had a 5-3 record and 3.64 ERA in 12 starts for the Reds after he was 0-2 with a 7.00 ERA during a turbulent end to his time with the Mets.

Video: PIT@CIN: Harvey, Riggleman on loss to the Pirates

Following surgeries on his elbow and for thoracic outlet syndrome while with the Mets, Harvey has been healthy with the Reds. His fastball velocity has also improved -- from 93.1 mph with the Mets this season to 94.9 mph -- entering Sunday with Cincinnati. Coincidental or not, the Reds were 8-27 before landing Harvey and have gone 35-29 since the deal.

If the Reds don't like the offers they get for Harvey, they could hang on to him or try to move him in a waivers trade next month. If he finishes the season in Cincinnati, the club would not get to make a qualifying offer to the free agent for Draft-pick compensation because he was already traded this season.

Video: PIT@CIN: Votto makes superb diving stop to rob Diaz

Harvey has avoided discussing any speculation about the potential of being traded. But he maintained that he's liked pitching for the Reds.

"No matter where you are or where you want to be, this is a business," he said. "Whatever is decided, my job is to go out and out and do everything I can to help this team win. Hopefully, pick up another streak.

"We're going to flush this weekend. It was a rough one for a lot of us. We're going to get out there tomorrow and try to get into a winning streak."

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
The Reds didn't score on Pirates starter Ivan Nova until Phillip Ervin lofted a soft two-out, two-run single to center field in the seventh inning. They were outscored, 27-5, in the three-game series.

"We just had the four days off and didn't come out firing on all cylinders offensively," Riggleman said. "It's a combination of us not swinging the bats like we're capable and they pitched well."

Video: PIT@CIN: Ervin flares a 2-run single into centerPhillip Ervin lifts a bloop single into shallow center field to plate a pair of runs and get the Reds on the board in the 7th inning

SOUND SMART
In his 2-for-4 afternoon, Reds shortstop Jose Peraza notched his 30th multihit game of the season and extended his hitting streak to eight games. Peraza, who entered the day leading the National League with 9.3 plate appearances per strikeout, has an active streak of 32 plate appearances without striking out. His last one came on July 11 at Cleveland.

HE SAID IT
"It's disappointing. It's a long season, 162 games, you're going to hit some times where you just aren't hitting on all cylinders. Other times, everybody is going full guns and driving in runs and pitching great and you put together a nice streak. This is kind of the ebb and flow of it. You want to minimize it as much as possible on the downside." -- Riggleman, on the Reds' poor performance since the All-Star break

UP NEXT
Luis Castillo will be making his first start of the second half when the Reds host the Cardinals at 7:10 p.m. ET Monday. For St. Louis, right-hander Daniel Poncedeleon will be making his Major League debut on the mound. In his final start of the first half on July 14, Castillo also faced the Cardinals. He gave up two earned runs and five hits over five innings without a walk. Castillo waited out a 52-minute rain delay during the second inning but was taken out after a second delay of nearly two hours following the fifth inning.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds, Matt Harvey