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Harvey's gem carries Mets past Twins

The SportsXchange

MINNEAPOLIS -- New York Mets flame-thrower Matt Harvey continued his early season prowess on the mound with a dominating performance that included 6 2/3 no-hit innings in a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday at Target Field.

In eight innings of work, Harvey allowed one run, two hits and two walks, frustrating the Twins hitters all afternoon.

"It was a bad day offensively made tough by the guy on the other side," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We all saw that Harvey can throw the baseball really well and he's got all of his pitches -- a great fastball, great change-up and a great slider. The guy's a horse; he can really wing it."

Harvey has been on a record-setting pace for innings pitched and strikeouts to start a season, and he continued his effectiveness, setting down six Twins batters on strikeouts.

"Absolutely brilliant the way he threw the ball, pounding the strike zone, got deep into a game," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "I've said it. This kid keeps throwing strikes like he has been, he's going to win baseball games because he's the got the kind of stuff that's tough to hit."

Harvey lost the no-hit bid in the seventh inning when Justin Morneau hit a two-out home run just inside the foul pole for the Twins' first run.

"It was a slider in. It was a good pitch -- he just put a good swing on it," Harvey said. "I think we'd gone in there three or four times with the slider, and you know, looking back we probably should have gone with another change-up or a fastball, but I made a good pitch and he put a good swing on it."

The Twins added a second run on ninth-inning doubles by Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham. But by that time the damage had been done.

Bobby Parnell picked up his first save of the season for the Mets.

"(Your going to have) some tough days offensively when you are facing those kinds of arms and that kind of pitching," Gardenhire said. "We stayed after it and had a little bit of an opportunity there. Ultimately, they had made the pitches they had to at the end."

At the outset, the Mets and Twins were set up for quite a pitchers' duel in the frigid conditions, with Harvey pitching against the Twins ace Scott Diamond.

And for four innings, the game lived up to its billing, until Diamond tired and the Mets' hot hitters (10 hits overall) rocked him in the fifth with seven consecutive hits. The four-run outburst was all Harvey and the Mets needed to set down the hapless Twins for the second time in the three-game series.

Making his season debut after being activated from the disabled list earlier in the day, Diamond had one of the better starts for the Twins this season. In his first four scoreless innings, he scattered two hits and kept the hard-hitting Mets slightly off balance.

But in the fifth, Marlon Byrd led off by hitting a 2-and-0 pitch into the left-field seats that opened the floodgates. The next six Mets batters reached on six hits and scored two more runs before Diamond left the game.

"We were changing speeds really well," Diamond said of what worked early. "Our approach to attack the lineup in was working really well. We were able to go outside and mix speeds pretty well. Coming through that lineup a second time, we were trying to mix it up a little bit more and I think we probably made a bigger adjustment than we needed to. So it's lesson's learned."

Reliever Josh Roenicke took a shot off the back of his leg and Collin Cowgill scored on the infield hit for 4-0 lead.

Harvey kept the Twins hitless into the fifth, allowing just two batters to reach base (walks in the second and the fourth).

NOTES: The game-time temperature was 35 degrees, with overcast skies and light snow falling. ... Diamond was activated on Friday. ... Coming into the game, the Twins allowed 16 first-inning runs, the most in the league. They allowed no runs in the first inning of the game. ... Harvey is the third pitcher in team history with nine or more strikeouts in each of his first two starts of the year. David Cone and Pedro Martinez are the others.
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