Matt Harvey struggles as Mets fall to Padres, 7-3
SAN DIEGO -- Rookie Matt Harvey was hit hard for the first time in his brief big-league career Sunday as the Mets ended their western swing on a down note with a 7-3 loss to the Padres.
Harvey (1-2) allowed five runs in five innings, including a pair of home runs by the power-starved Padres. They were the first two homers the 23-year-old has given up in the big leagues. San Diego came into the game with 71 homers, the third-lowest total in baseball, but hit three on the day.
In his first two outings, Harvey allowed two earned runs in 11 1/3 innings with 18 strikeouts as he featured 98-mph heat and a wicked slider.
Sunday, Harvey bounced two sliders well in front of the plate.As for his fastball, the velocity was there, but not the command.
The Padres turned into Harvey Wallbangers with six extra-base hits -- at least one in each inning -- against the righthander. He allowed eight hits, walked one, struck out five and threw 81 pitches, 50 for strikes.
"When I tried to go away, it was either six inches away or six inches middle," Harvey said. "It was one of those days when I couldn't find the strike zone, and when I did, it was not quality. I wasn't executing the way I had my last two starts. Just one of those days."
The Mets battled back to within 5-3 by the seventh but still fell to 6-5 on the three-city trip that Harvey both started and ended.
"Got to move forward and get ready for my next start," said Harvey, who is scheduled to make his Citi Field debut on Friday against the Braves. "Try to erase this one."
Harvey gave up a double to the second batter he faced, Everth Cabrera. Headley followed with a home run that landed on top of the scoreboard in rightfield for a 2-0 lead.
Harvey allowed a leadoff triple but no runs in the second. He got two quick outs in the third before walking Headley on a 3-and-2 pitch.
Headley moved to second on a very outside pitch to Carlos Quentin that went off Rob Johnson's glove for a passed ball. Quentin doubled to the right-centerfield wall to make it 3-0 and Alonso followed with a 400-foot homer to center to make it 5-0.
The walk was what ate at Harvey, though. "I don't like walking people at all," he said.
Harvey ended the inning by striking out Will Venable on a 98-mph heater and worked out of trouble in each of the next two innings to keep the deficit at five.
"I thought he responded good, actually, after the third inning," Terry Collins said. "He went back out there and battled through two more innings. So I was really impressed that he got us through the fifth."
Unfortunately for the Mets, they didn't break through against Jason Marquis (5-6) until the sixth. Ruben Tejada led off the game with a single but was thrown out trying to steal second. Marquis retired 14 in a row before Mike Baxter walked to lead off the sixth. Baxter had walked in all five of his plate appearances Saturday.
Ronny Cedeño batted for Harvey and smacked a two-run homer to left to make it 5-2. In the seventh, Ike Davis doubled and scored two batters later on Jason Bay's sacrifice fly to bring the Mets to within 5-3. But that was it.
Quentin hit a solo homer off Ramon Ramirez in the bottom of the inning. The Padres made it 7-3 in the eighth on Mark Kotsay's RBI double off Ramirez.