Rockies have no answers for Harvey, fall in shutout
Chacin hangs tough for seven innings, but bats muster only four hits
NEW YORK -- Walt Weiss last suited up in a Tar Heel uniform in 1985. Through his professional career, Weiss continued to keep track of the North Carolina baseball team, watching games if he had the chance. Then about five years ago, the current Rockies manager started seeing a young stud named Matt Harvey on the mound for UNC.
Fast forward to Wednesday night. Weiss was in the opposing dugout, and Harvey was on the Citi Field mound pitching for the Mets.
"I've watched Matt from afar," Weiss said before the game. "I wish he wasn't pitching against us. This is a little too up close and personal."
The Rockies' lineup concurred.
At a time when Colorado is limping through a road trip, the power-armed Harvey was probably the last pitcher the Rockies wanted to see on the mound. They managed only four hits against the Mets' ace, who recorded his first career complete game and shutout to hand the Rockies a 5-0 loss.
The college pitcher Weiss used to watch has evolved into a dominant Major League starter. On Wednesday, the Rockies were Harvey's latest victims.
"When he's on, he's one of those guys you're not going to string a lot of hits together off of," Weiss said. "He was impressive. It was the first time I've seen him, but he was real good. We weren't going to put together much against him tonight."
With the loss, the Rockies dropped to 1-8 on their current road trip, which has taken them through Atlanta, Pittsburgh and now New York. The Rockies have also dropped four straight games.
Earlier in the day, Colorado placed All-Star left fielder Carlos Gonzalez on the 15-day disabled list because of his sprained right middle finger. The Rockies' day only soured from there.
Jhoulys Chacin, who had a 1.38 ERA in four career games against the Mets, gave the Rockies a chance to win, stifling New York's lineup for most of the night with sharp sinkers and sliders.
Chacin said he knew he was going to have to pitch well to give Colorado a chance with Harvey on the mound. He did exactly that, but it still wasn't enough.
"He throws a good game, throws zero," Chacin said of Harvey. "One game you have to take your cap off to him, and you give him the credit."
Chacin didn't falter often on Wednesday. He allowed three straight singles in the second inning, the last an RBI by shortstop Omar Quintanilla to give New York a 1-0 lead. But Chacin got Harvey to ground into a double play to escape further damage.
In the fourth inning, Chacin gave up a one-out double to first baseman Ike Davis. Two batters later, catcher John Buck drove Davis in with a single to right field putting the Mets up 2-0.
"I'm still a little bit upset about the pitch to Buck in the fourth," Chacin said. "I don't know, I was just trying to do the best I could for my team."
Harvey, meanwhile, continued his dominance of National League hitters. He was still throwing in the upper 90s in the seventh inning, when he struck out Todd Helton with a 97-mph fastball to end the frame. Harvey finished with six strikeouts.
"He was dirty," said Helton, who's in his 17th Major League season. "As good as I've seen in a long, long time."
After Michael Cuddyer's single with two outs in the fourth inning, the Rockies didn't have another hit until Nolan Arenado reached on an infield single with one out in the eighth inning.
"I noticed they were kind of going away a lot. I threw a fastball away quite a bit, and they were putting pretty good swings on it," Harvey said. "So that was the biggest adjustment was just going inside a little bit and getting them back off the plate."
Chacin wasn't as electric as Harvey, but his performance would have been sufficient on most nights. He pitched increasingly better as the game progressed, and struck out the side in the seventh inning, his final frame. He allowed two runs on seven hits with one walk and five strikeouts.
Weiss brought in Manny Corpas to pitch the bottom of the eighth inning, and he couldn't back up Chacin's strong start. Corpas gave up a three-run double to third baseman Wilmer Flores -- who was playing in his second Major League game and notched his first big league hit in the second inning -- that put New York up 5-0.
The way Harvey pitched, though, the game was already out of reach for the Rockies.
"When a guy like that's commanding his stuff," Weiss said, "it's going to be tough."