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After so-so start from Harvey, Mets prevail in 16th

The SportsXchange

SAN FRANCISCO -- In a game that ended Tuesday morning, something that happened Monday night might have cost the New York Mets' ace his opportunity to start in next week's All-Star Game.

Matt Harvey was long gone by the time San Francisco shortstop Brandon Crawford's two-out error in the top of the 16th inning allowed Eric Young Jr. to score the tiebreaking in the Mets' 4-3 win over the San Francisco Giants in the opener of a three-game series.

Seeking an eighth win against just two losses, Harvey battled through a blister on the index finger of his pitching hand and remained winless since June 23. He gave up a two-run homer to Buster Posey in the first inning and a triple to Hunter Pence that turned into a game-tying run in the seventh. Overall, it had to be rated as a substandard performance for Harvey.

"I'm not happy about it," Harvey said of his effort, which he refused to blame on the blister. "It's no excuse for my poor pitching. Ask any pitcher. They always have some problems with blisters."

Harvey, who said the blister coincides with his three-game winless streak, is scheduled to pitch Saturday night in Pittsburgh, which would allow him ample rest to be considered to start for the National League in the All-Star Game in New York next week.

However, after watching his standout throw a season-high 121 pitches, Mets manager Terry Collins noted afterward he would consider either limiting Harvey in his next start or perhaps not using him at all.

The goal: Have him in peak health for the hometown All-Star appearance and the start of the season's "second half" thereafter.

"He pitched fine, but that's not what we have seen through most of the first half," Collins said. "He didn't throw as much between starts as he normally does, and I think you saw the effects of it because his command wasn't what it normally is."

The Giants' Bruce Bochy will make the call on the All-Star starter. He earned the right to manage the NL team by virtue of leading San Francisco to the World Series last year.

He'd been noncommittal about the starter leading into a two-day sequence in which the two leading candidates -- the Los Angeles Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw and Harvey -- would be pitching against the Giants.

No doubt, Kershaw outperformed Harvey in what Bochy refused to recognize as auditions. The Dodgers left-hander beat the Giants on Sunday, allowing just one run on three hits in eight innings while running his record to 8-5.

Harvey went seven innings Monday, allowing three runs on six hits. He walked one and struck out six, battled almost evenly by the Giants' nine-game loser, Tim Lincecum, who struck out 11.

"He pitched a good game," Bochy said of Harvey. "Obviously, we had our chances."

The battle of fourth-place teams ended at 12:42 a.m. Tuesday at AT&T Park, with the Mets winning for the first time in four games this season that have extended 15 or more innings. The game lasted 5 hours, 26 minutes.

The Giants walked away feeling they lost more than the Mets won. They stranded 18 baserunners, including 12 in extra innings. San Francisco left the bases loaded in the 13th and 15th innings.

"The game was so long, so frustrating," Bochy said.

Young got the decisive 16th inning going for the Mets with a one-out single off the Giants' seventh pitcher, right-hander George Kontos (2-2). The New York leadoff man then stole second and went to third on Daniel Murphy's infield out.

After David Wright was intentionally walked by left-hander Javier Lopez, the usually sure-handed Crawford couldn't handle pinch hitter Anthony Recker's routine grounder to short, allowing the decisive run to score.

"These things happen," Giants right fielder Hunter Pence said of Crawford's error, his ninth of the season. "It was just a bad time for it."

Right-hander Bobby Parnell survived an inning-opening walk to Marco Scutaro and Buster Posey's fifth hit of the night, a single, in the bottom of the 16th to record his 16th save. The game ended when the Giants' last available non-starting pitcher, Guillermo Quiroz, grounded out with two men on base.

Left-hander Josh Edgin (1-1) got the win after pitching two innings, including the 15th, when he got Gregor Blanco to ground out to first base with two outs and the bases loaded.

Posey's five hits, a career best, included the first-inning home run, his 13th, and two doubles.

The Giants outhit the Mets 14-9 in a game that featured 34 strikeouts.

Like Harvey, Lincecum allowed six hits, three runs and one walk in seven innings.

NOTES: The Mets played a 20-inning game against Miami on June 8. The Giants' longest game previously this season was 13 innings June 17 against San Diego. ... The Giants' bullpen allowed only three hits in nine innings. The lone run over that stretch -- the game-winner -- was unearned. ... Collins announced before the game he'll use a four-man rotation at least through the All-Star break. ... Mets RHP Shaun Marcum flew from Milwaukee to St. Louis following Sunday's game to have his right hand and arm examined. Marcum complained of numbness and tingling in his pitching hand after Saturday's loss to the Brewers. ... Mets LHP Jon Niese had an MRI on his left shoulder in New York on Monday, and the results were encouraging. With his partially torn rotator cuff mending on its own, Niese will be sent to the Mets' camp in Port St. Lucie, Fla., to begin a rehab that could see him back in action sometime in August. ... Giants INF Joaquin Arias underwent an emergency appendectomy Sunday night and was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday. He was replaced on the active roster by INF Nick Noonan, who was recalled from Triple-A Fresno. Noonan struck out as a pinch hitter in the 10th inning.
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