Matt Harvey gave his boss a belated 68th birthday gift, baffling the Bucs for six sharp innings on Sunday to take the rubber match on the road in Pittsburgh.
With the hail of criticism that has haunted Harvey this could possibly be the turn around Mets manager Terry Collins needs to keep his battered ball club afloat.
Harvey, who had not survived past six innings in his previous five starts, held the Pirates to one run on six hits with four strikeouts and a season low two walks. It was the type of performance fit for the self-proclaimed Dark Knight we’ve known, with a bit of velocity taken down a notch.
“Very encouraged,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “He doesn’t have to throw 97 to get people out. Tonight he showed that. He showed command of his stuff, best curveball I’ve seen in a year. I thought he mixed his pitches extremely well tonight. This has got to be a huge boost to his confidence.”
Which also carried over at the plate when he started a rally in the fifth with a broken bat single up the middle, scoring the Mets third run on Jose Reyes’ base hit to right. NY provided some nice padding for their revived righty with a two-run double by Jay Bruce, who was 3-5 on the night. Bruce also flashed some gorgeous defense in the sixth with a diving grab of Jordy Mercer’s liner to the right center field gap.
Curtis Granderson, filling for Michael Conforto in the leadoff spot continued to climb further away from the Mendoza line with three hits, an RBI and a run scored.
Honorable mentions for Asdrubal Cabrera who put the Mets on the board sending home Neil Walker and Jay Bruce with a two-run double in the fourth, and Lucas Duda for his solo shot in the seventh, for the Mets final run of the night.
After Friday’s disappointing loss, the news of Yoenis Cespedes sore quad set back was the last thing the Mets needed to hear, but with Harvey’s impressive performance on Sunday, Steven Matz’s imminent return after five perfect innings in Las Vegas, and the offense firing on all cylinders, there’s hopefully joy on the way in Mudville.