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Harvey boosts trade stock with strong outing

MLB.com @m_sheldon

ATLANTA -- Any success that Matt Harvey has on the mound for the Reds has immediate benefits on the field and the potential for even more for business reasons. Harvey went a season-high 6 2/3 innings in Tuesday's 5-3 victory over the Braves at SunTrust Park.

The Reds have won eight of their last nine games and 11 of 14. Since the 33-46 Reds acquired Harvey from the Mets on May 8 for Devin Mesoraco, they have gone 25-19.

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ATLANTA -- Any success that Matt Harvey has on the mound for the Reds has immediate benefits on the field and the potential for even more for business reasons. Harvey went a season-high 6 2/3 innings in Tuesday's 5-3 victory over the Braves at SunTrust Park.

The Reds have won eight of their last nine games and 11 of 14. Since the 33-46 Reds acquired Harvey from the Mets on May 8 for Devin Mesoraco, they have gone 25-19.

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"We're on the right path," said Harvey, who gave up one run and six hits with one walk and two strikeouts on 84 pitches. "It's nice to help this team win, especially the run we've been on the last few weeks. I don't want to be the weak link in the rotation."

Good starts like Tuesday's can only boost Harvey's value should the Reds try to move him ahead of next month's non-waiver Trade Deadline.

"I don't think about that stuff. It's out of my control," Harvey said.

Video: CIN@ATL: Harvey, Riggleman on great outing vs. Braves

Over his nine starts for Cincinnati, Harvey is 3-3 with a 4.31 ERA. On the heels of his six-inning performance against the Cubs last Thursday, he has back-to-back wins for the first time since May 23 and 28, 2017, for the Mets. The former ace had a 7.00 ERA over eight games (four starts) for New York, with a demotion to the bullpen ahead of his departure.

Harvey has enjoyed himself since joining the Reds. Not only has some of the turmoil surrounding him in New York dissipated, he's no longer dealing with the myriad injuries that sparked his decline the past few seasons.

"I love it. The guys are awesome," Harvey said. "I feel like we've been winning. It's fun winning, and all that other stuff is out of my control. I just do my job and pitch and continue to be healthy."

Harvey kept the Braves scoreless through the first three innings. In the third with no outs and a runner on first base, catcher Tucker Barnhart slickly fielded an Anibal Sanchez sacrifice bunt attempt in front of the plate and turned a double play.

Video: CIN@ATL: Barnhart, Peraza combine for a double play

In the fourth with the Reds leading, 1-0, Harvey gave up Tyler Flowers' one-out RBI double off the wall in center field. But with runners on second and third, he escaped without any more damage. In the sixth with a runner on first, Nick Markakis lined into a double play to second base on a hit-and-run play to end the inning.

Video: CIN@ATL: Gennett doubles up Albies to end the 6th

As a National League East rival of the Mets, the Braves were very familiar with Harvey, and very successful historically. He entered the night 3-7 with a 5.27 ERA in 13 games against Atlanta, including 11 earned runs and 11 hits over eight innings this season.

"His velocity was up a little bit more," Flowers said of Harvey. "His slider seemed to be pretty good. You have to respect the 95-97 [mph] he was able to get to on fastball counts. His command seemed a lot better."

Harvey had thrown only 69 pitches when he returned for the seventh.

"I was cruising," Harvey said. "I looked up and didn't have that many pitches. It was nice to do. I was kind of used to struggling through with 100 pitches in six innings and getting pulled. It was nice to get some earlier outs and get another win for us."

Tweet from @Reds: Ws in 11 of the last 14!#RedsCountry pic.twitter.com/cimL7RAVym

Trouble came in the seventh when Harvey gave up a pair of one-out singles to Charlie Culberson and Johan Camargo. After Dansby Swanson's lineout moved Culberson to third, interim manager Jim Riggleman summoned Amir Garrett from the bullpen. Pinch-hitter Danny Santana represented the go-ahead run but struck out.

"It was a hot, humid night here, and he did a great job," Riggleman said of Harvey's start. "Like I've said, if you can get six innings -- anything more than that you can really set up your bullpen any way that you want."

Despite the results, Harvey didn't feel like he had his best stuff on display.

"I'm used to that through the years," Harvey said. "The struggles of not feeling good, not being totally healthy showed in the numbers. I think the health is coming back, is definitely a good sign. To not feel great and get to seven innings is a sign that things are going in the right direction."

Video: CIN@ATL: Harvey handles comebacker and nabs Albies

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Insurance run, No. 1: Jesse Winker, who missed a bases-loaded chance in Monday's extra-innings loss to Atlanta, returned with a 3-for-4 game and two RBIs. In the eighth inning, it was his RBI single to center field that made it a 4-1 game, and it proved to be an important run as the Braves chipped away.

"He's just such a good hitter," Riggleman said.

Video: CIN@ATL: Winker knocks his 2nd RBI single to center

Insurance run, No. 2: Ahead 4-3 and facing Shane Carle in the ninth, Scooter Gennett fell into a 0-2 count before fouling off the next four pitches. On the fifth pitch, Gennett connected for an RBI single to right field that scored Barnhart.

"Whenever you can tack on some extra runs late, it's important," Gennett said. "It takes a little pressure off everything. That guy had a pretty good curveball, a little harder than I thought. It ended up falling in. It was nice."

Video: CIN@ATL: Gennett flares an RBI single to right

GARRETT LEAVES GAME
Upon returning for the eighth inning, Garrett was struck on the left knee by leadoff batter Ender Inciarte's comebacker to the mound. After being down for several moments, Garrett left the game. X-rays were negative, and he was diagnosed with a lower left leg contusion. His status is day to day.

Michael Lorenzen took over for Garrett and gave up Ozzie Albies' double, which led to a pair of RBI groundouts to make it a one-run game. More >

Video: CIN@ATL: Garrett exits after being hit in the leg

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
In the fifth inning with two outs, Inciarte hit a long drive to right-center field. Scott Schebler -- in place of Billy Hamilton -- made a lengthy run to catch the ball on the warning track to take away a potential hit. According to Statcast™, it was a four-star grab with a 45-percent catch probability. Schebler had to go 82 feet in 4.6 seconds.

Video: CIN@ATL: Schebler races out for a running grab

HE SAID IT
"I think it's just normal Matt Harvey. Every time we come in and face him, he's sitting around 95 [mph] and he'll bump it up to 96, 97, 98. I think his stuff's there. The more he goes out there, the more I think comfortable he gets. He's able to command his pitches better and better. Even per start, you can see that confidence going up. I'm just really happy he's got an opportunity over here to get back to his normal self, and it looks like he's doing that." -- Gennett

UP NEXT
For the series finale at 12:10 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Luis Castillo will make the start for the Reds against the Braves and lefty Sean Newcomb. It hasn't been a great June for Castillo, who has a 6.33 ERA in four starts this month. But in a 6-3 victory over the Cubs on Friday, he gave up three earned runs and four hits over 5 2/3 innings with one walk and five strikeouts.

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