Mets' Harvey improves to 5-0

Jack McCarthy, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


CHICAGO -- Matt Harvey may have lacked his best fastball on Friday, but he successfully mixed in other pitches and even delivered at the plate as the New York Mets beat the Chicago Cubs 3-2.
"He just kept working," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "You could see he was not very happy with the way he was throwing (early) ... but when he started getting a feel for it, he started making better pitches."
Harvey (5-0) picked up his first win since April 19 after a run of four straight no-decisions. He also collected his first RBI of the season with a game-winning single in the seventh.
The Cubs jumped on Harvey for three hits and two first-inning runs. But that was it as the Mets right-hander held the hosts to just two hits over the next seven innings.
"They came out swinging early," said Harvey. "We came in after the first inning, and obviously I had to change things up ... The biggest thing today was the curve ball. It was working pretty well and I was able to throw it for a strike when I needed to."
The victory was the second straight for the Mets, who snapped a six-game losing streak with Thursday's 5-2 victory at St. Louis.
Cubs right-hander Edwin Jackson (1-6) took the loss after giving up the seventh-inning run-scoring single to Harvey with two out.
Harvey, now a .158 hitter, drove home Rick Ankiel to snap a 2-2 tie with his base hit to left. Ankiel had reached after his fly deep to the right-field wall fell for a two-out double.
Jackson worked 6 2/3 innings and gave up seven hits and three earned runs. He walked one while striking out three.
"After the first inning it was kind of the Matt Harvey Show," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "That guy's obviously the real deal ... He's had a lot of poise and that kind of velocity and command of a curve ball and change up. He's got the whole package.
"And then he finishes if off with a game-winning hit."
Harvey left in the eighth after allowing a lead-off bloop single to Darwin Barney, who advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt.
David DeJesus then laced a single to right off reliever Scott Rice, but outfielder Marlon Byrd fired to catcher John Buck, who tagged out Barney a few feet in front of home plate.
"My thing was to throw the ball cleanly and throw it as hard as a I can," said Byrd, a onetime Cub who entered in the seventh inning for starting right fielder Jordany Valdespin. "I work on that every day."
Right-hander Greg Burke came in and got Starlin Castro on an inning-ending grounder to third. Bobby Parnell then worked a one-two-three ninth and earned his fifth save.
Harvey struck out six and did not walk a batter. He's now second in the National League in wins behind Arizona's Patrick Corbin (6-0).
Solo homers in the early innings helped the Mets to an early 1-0 lead and then to a 2-2 tie.
In the first inning, David Wright clubbed his sixth home run of the season on a 1-2 pitch, sending Jackson's pitch to the back row of the left field bleachers. Wright finished the day 3-for-4 with a run scored.
Chicago claimed a 2-1 lead in the last of the first. With runners on first and second, Alfonso Soriano grounded to short for an infield single that scored Castro. Anthony Rizzo then came home as shortstop Ruben Tejada committed an error on his throw to first.
Daniel Murphy led off the fourth with a solo homer to tie the game at 2-2. It was his third homer of the year.
The Mets had a potential go-ahead run at third with two out in the sixth. But Valdespin advanced no further as Lucas Duda closed the inning by grounding to second.
Jackson had snapped a personal five-game losing streak with an 8-2 victory last Saturday at Washington.
"I felt pretty good mechanically," Jackson said. "I've been able to go out and get into a rhythm early, but regardless of how I pitch, the objective is to win a game."
The Mets will send Jeremy Hefner (0-4, 4.61 ERA) against the Cubs' Scott Feldman (3-3, 2.53 ERA) in a battle of right-handers on Saturday. The series concludes Sunday.
NOTES: Right-hander Matt Garza appears ready to rejoin the Cubs after a successful rehab start at Triple-A Iowa on Thursday. Garza threw 75 pitches, faced 20 batters through six scoreless innings and allowed just two hits in his fourth rehab start. "He did what we asked him to do," Sveum said... The Cubs were hitting .276 at home entering Friday, nearly 60 points better than their road production ... Cubs reliever Kevin Gregg needs three strikeouts to reach 600 for his career ... Including Thursday's game in St. Louis, the Mets are in a four-game stretch of day games, the first since Sept. 3-6, 2010. Wright is battling .379 in day games, the fourth highest in the National League ... Byrd is seven hits shy of 1,000 for his career and has one hit in seven of nine games in May. He went 0-for-1 Friday.