Harvey shuts out Phillies, 5-0
NEW YORK - When two of the game's best pitchers meet up, it is often expected to be a low-scoring affair. That was not the case yesterday for Cliff Lee, who was outpitched by Mets phenom Matt Harvey.
Harvey pitched two scoreless innings in the All-Star Game, and yesterday he showed why he was chosen as the NL's starter. He limited the Phillies to three hits over seven innings in the Mets' 5-0 victory.
"All four of his pitches are all plus-plus pitches," said Michael Young, who singled off Harvey in the top of the sixth. "He's obviously one of the best in the league at a very young age and one of the things he has learned at a young age is that he is confident to throw off-speed in hitters' counts, and it usually takes someone a while to learn that. He is confident in all four of his pitches, as he should be, and he has a veteran catcher to work with so his future is bright."
With two outs in the first inning, Mets third baseman David Wright gave New York a 1-0 lead with a solo homer to left-centerfield. Wright's long ball bounced off the railing just feet beyond the wall, and after a quick replay his 15th homer stood.
The very next batter, rightfielder Marlon Byrd, followed with a solo shot to leftfield. Byrd's 17th homer marked the first time the Mets had gone back-to-back since Justin Turner and Wright did it last September.
"You have to give Harvey a lot of credit today," said Lee (10-4). "He has been pitching unbelievable and he didn't allow us to score, so I knew that going in it was going to be a good game where I couldn't allow too many runs, and the two home runs in the first didn't really help that. He's had a good year and has really good stuff, so when he's pitching I have to do better than that."
Just like he often does when he is on the mound, Harvey (8-2) was dealing. It was not until the top of the fourth that he allowed a single to Chase Utley, but the Phillies were unable to capitalize on the one-out hit.
The New York offense had little trouble against Lee. With two runners on in the bottom half of the fourth, centerfielder Juan Lagares sent his second homer of the season off the top of the fence in leftfield. It called for the game's second use of replay, and the homer stood, giving the Mets a five-run lead.
That proved to be more than enough support for Harvey, who struck out the side in the third and fifth innings. His masterful performance included 10 strikeouts and one hit-by-pitch, which came in the top of the first as Utley was plunked in the left forearm by a 99 mph fastball.
Harvey's double-digit strikeout performance was the sixth time he accomplished the feat this season and the eighth time in his career. In addition, Harvey tied Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish for the MLB strikeout lead with 157, while earning his eighth win.
The Phillies left five runners stranded, and Domonic Brown finished 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. Delmon Young recorded the Phils' only extra-base hit, but he was left stranded following a seventh-inning double.
"It was a tough loss today, but that's Matt Harvey for you," Brown said. "If he gets ahead it's trouble. The third at-bat I got ahead of him and he threw me a fastball, and that was it. It's tough when you have a guy throwing all four pitches for strikes. He's not afraid to throw his off-speed pitches on 2-1. Most guys throwing that hard, you know a fastball is coming and with him, you don't."
Lee was dealt his fourth loss of the season, his second in a row. He now has a 3.05 ERA after allowing five runs and seven hits - three of which were homers. Lee allowed four homers in his previous loss to Washington on July 10.
"I have got to get the ball down," Lee said. "The pitch to Wright was actually up and in where I wanted it but he put a good swing on it and you have to give him credit on that one. The other two home runs today were burdens. The third home run was a hanging curveball down the middle. I've got to do a better job of getting that pitch down. They all came with two outs, too; I've got to figure out a way to make better pitches in those situations especially when they are all with two strikes and two outs, so that's the part that is frustrating to me, but what's done is done."
Harvey earned his second combined shutout of the season, the first of which came in an 8-0 victory in Philadelphia on June 23. In 13 innings against the Phillies this season, Harvey has allowed five hits and three walks while recording 15 strikeouts.
Scott Atchison closed out the 5-0 victory, pitching two scoreless innings while allowing a single to Jimmy Rollins.
The loss ended the Phillies' streak of four consecutive series victories. The streak dated back to the July 2-4 series against the Pittsburgh Pirates and ends with the Phils dropping consecutive games to New York following the All-Star break.
The Phillies are off today before starting a three-game series in St. Louis tomorrow against the NL Central-leading Cardinals. They then travel north for a three-game series with the Detroit Tigers beginning on Friday. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. stated prior to yesterday's game that the two upcoming series would be pivotal in deciding what pieces the team would try to buy or sell approaching the July 31 trade deadline.
"We lost the series and what's done is done, and there is nothing we can do about it now," Lee said. "We just have to go into St. Louis and try to win that one. There's really nothing we can do at this point. Obviously we needed to win this game to take the series, but it didn't happen and there's nothing you can do about it now but move on."