COMMENTARY | Twenty up. Twenty down.
On a night when the New York Knicks went on a 30-2 run in the second half to rout the Indiana Pacers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at Madison Square Garden, it was Harvey who turned in the Big Apple's best performance.
Harvey was pitching his best game yet when an infield ground ball and a close play at first base spoiled what could have been another history-making night at Citi Field, the first since Johan Santana pitched a no-hitter there on June 1 of last season.
Fast forward 11 months, to a Tuesday night in the same ballpark. Harvey had a perfect game going with two outs in the seventh inning. His fastball was still clocked at 97 miles per hour one batter before Alex Rios became the first Chicago White Sox player to reach base.
It was Harvey's latest -- and best -- gem, another flashback to when Dwight Gooden dazzled the Shea Stadium crowd with his right arm nearly three decades ago. Harvey is 4-0 with a 1.28 earned run average in seven starts this year.
The Mets are far from being playoff contenders, and who knows what's in store for a team that hasn't made the playoffs since 2006. But when Harvey pitches, you can throw records and history and finances and predications out the door. This kid brings it, and so do the fans -- 23,394 were there last night to cheer him on.
The Mets were playing the Chicago White Sox on a Tuesday night in May. Ordinarily, there would be no buzz surrounding this game. But when Harvey pitches, all bets are off.
With all the hype his starts generate, Harvey never seems to disappoint. Last night, he went nine innings and allowed just that one baserunner, coming that close to pitching the first perfect game in franchise history.
As great as Harvey pitched -- and boy was he great -- it wasn't enough. Through nine innings, the Mets recorded just four hits. Harvey pitches as good as you can pitch, and he doesn't get the win.
The Mets ended up winning it in the 10th inning when pinch hitter Mike Baxter hit a line-drive single to right field that drove home Ike Davis with the only run of the game.
That was the only run the Mets needed. That's because Matt Harvey was pitching.
Charles Costello has followed the Mets closely since the rookie years of Darryl Strawberry (1983) and Dwight Gooden (1984). He was a beat reporter assigned to cover the Mets during the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
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