Harvey outduels Scherzer; Mets break away from Nationals 4-0
NEW YORK (AP) Matt Harvey praised his fielders, his relievers and his manager's decision. Most everything except his own pitches.
No problem. His teammates did that for him.
''That's what the definition of an ace is,'' outfielder Michael Cuddyer said. ''When you've got a losing streak, he goes out and puts up zeros.''
Harvey outpitched Max Scherzer, barely, and the New York Mets backed him with a lot of fancy fielding before breaking away from the Washington Nationals 4-0 Friday night.
''They got you ready for the Kentucky Derby with those horses on the mound,'' Cuddyer said.
Cuddyer homered early as the Mets stopped their longest losing streak of the year at three. Daniel Murphy added a three-run double in the eighth inning when left fielder Jayson Werth mistakenly broke in and slipped trying to recover.
On this night, even when Harvey (5-0) said he didn't have his best stuff, that was more than enough.
''Matt Harvey takes these games to heart,'' Mets manager Terry Collins said.
The Nationals, who had won 15 of the last 16 at Citi Field, were denied a season-high four-game winning string.
Harvey became the first five-game winner in the majors, giving up five hits and striking out three in seven innings.
''When you face a guy like that and a team like that, you've got to be fine,'' Harvey said.
Scherzer (1-3) fanned 10, and also allowed five hits in seven innings. But Cuddyer tagged him for a drive in the fourth, and that cost him.
Despite a 1.26 ERA, Scherzer has only one win in five starts with his new team. He lost to the Mets on opening day, and now this time to Harvey.
''He's a great pitcher,'' Scherzer said. ''You want to face those guys. You want to beat those guys. Unfortunately, we came out on the wrong side tonight.''
''You know runs are going to have meaning. You've got to bring your `A' game in these situations,'' he said.
Collins pulled Harvey after 93 pitches, saying, ''I thought he'd run out of gas.''
Harvey said it was the right call. Besides, Collins said, Harvey had done plenty.
''When you've got a No. 1 guy, it's great to have,'' Collins said. ''You can depend on him.''
Alex Torres relieved to begin the eighth and Dan Uggla hit a leadoff single. Pinch-hitter Tyler Moore followed with a long drive to left that was caught at the wall.
Collins then left no doubt how much this early matchup between his surprising club and the NL East favorites meant. He brought in Jeurys Familia with a 1-0 lead to get five outs, and the closer responded for his 10th save in as many chances.
On the day that Major League Baseball began implementing warnings and fines under its pace of play rules, there was no dawdling. On a brisk night, it was a brisk game.
The Mets kept things moving with their defense.
Gold Glove center Juan Lagares raced in to rob Ian Desmond - now in an 0-for-29 slump - and first baseman Lucas Duda neatly reached into the stands to grab a foul pop.
Rookie catcher Kevin Plawecki protected the one-run lead by throwing out Bryce Harper trying to steal second to end the sixth. Originally called safe, Harper was erased after Collins called for a replay challenge.
Shaky shortstop Wilmer Flores made his seventh error, but second baseman Dilson Herrera - promoted from Triple-A hours earlier - helped out on a pair of double plays.
The Nationals also were sharp with their gloves, until Werth's misplay. Center fielder Michael Taylor raced way back and reached real high to catch Plawecki's shot to the warning track. Harper later threw out Curtis Granderson at the plate when he tried to score from second on a single.
Nationals: CF Denard Span sat out, a day after leaving in the sixth inning because of general soreness. He's had a pair of recent surgeries in his core muscle area and started the season on the disabled list. Manager Matt Williams hopes Span will be able to play Saturday.
Mets: Flores will get a planned day off Saturday and Ruben Tejada will start, but it's no more than that. ''He's had a couple of bad games and everybody wants to write him off,'' Collins said before the game. ''I understand it,'' he said, but added, ''you've got to give him a chance.''
LHP Gio Gonzalez (1-2, 5.01) starts for the Nationals. He's 5-1 with a 1.88 ERA in eight career starts at Citi Field. LHP Jonathon Niese (2-1, 2.74) pitches for the Mets.
The New York Giants' first-round draft pick, offensive lineman Ereck Flowers from Miami, threw out the first ball. He lobbed it right over the plate.