CHICAGO (AP) —Having already impressed with his arm, Matt Harvey got to show off his bat.
The 24-year-old right-hander won his fifth straight decision, allowing five hits in 7 1-3 innings and singling in the go-ahead run in the seventh to lead the New York Mets over the Chicago Cubs 3-2 Friday.
“This guy is different. He’s not your run-of-the-mill young pitcher,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “This guy has got some savvy. He’s got great confidence”
Daniel Murphy and David Wright homered for the Mets, and reserve right fielder Marlon Byrd preserved the lead by throwing out a runner at the plate in the eighth inning. The Mets won consecutive games for the first time since May 1 and 3.
Harvey (5-0) won his first four starts of the year, then failed to get a decision in his next four outings.
“I think today, the big thing was the curveball,” Harvey said after his 19th major league start. “I had that working well and was able to throw that for a strike when I needed to.”
Collins that earlier this year he would have pinch hit for Harvey when the pitcher’s spot came up following Ankiel’s seventh-inning double. But with the Mets’ offense struggling, Collins is thinking more about pitching and defense.
Harvey went up to the plate and singled to break a 2-2 tie.
“That was awesome,” Harvey said. “That was huge for me.”
Chicago took a 2-1 lead in the first with three hits off Harvey, who had allowed just three first-inning hits this year.
Startlin Castro singled, Anthony Rizzo doubled and Alfonso Soriano hit an RBI single to shortstop Ruben Tejada, who ranged behind second and bounced a catchable one-hop throw past first baseman Ike Davis for a throwing error as Rizzo came home.
Nate Schierholtz lined to center, starting a streak in which Harvey retired 20 of 21 batters around Castro’s one-out single in the third.
“All of the sudden, he got it going,” Collins said. “He had such a rough first inning. You worry about it late in the game. Then all the sudden he started cruising. He started getting a feel for it. I tell you, he is a horse, no doubt about it.”
Harvey gave up both runs, struck out six and walked none as his ERA rose from 1.45 to 1.55. Scott Rice, Gregg Burke and Bobby Parnell combined for one-hit relief, with Parnell pitching a perfect ninth for his fifth save in seven chances.
“After that first inning, it was kind of the Matt Harvey show,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “He’s obviously the real deal.”
Edwin Jackson (1-6), coming off a victory at Washington on May 11, gave up three runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings.
Wright’s sixth homer of the season, on a 1-2 pitch, put the Mets ahead in the first. Murphy’s opposite-field home run to left leading off the fourth tied the score at 2.
Ankiel doubled to right just over Schierholtz’s glove with one out in the seventh. Harvey, at that point 2 for 18 at the plate this year, singled to left.
Byrd preserved the lead in the eighth. Darwin Barney singled leading off and was sacrificed to second, and Rice relieved Harvey.
David DeJesus singled sharply to right, and third-base coach David Bell sent Barney home. Byrd threw on the fly to catcher John Buck, and the ball beat Barney by about 15 feet. Barney didn’t even bother to slide and slowed down as Buck applied the tag.
“Turned out it wasn’t a very close play,” Bell said. “It’s disappointing, it was the wrong decision. I just watched the replay again, and it wasn’t close. As a third-base coach, you want to make the right decision, and that wasn’t the right decision.”
NOTES: Cubs manager Dale Sveum would not put a date on the return of RHP Matt Garza to the starting rotation. Garza threw 75 pitches in six innings Thursday for Triple-A Iowa. Garza suffered a training camp lat muscle strain and has not pitched for the Cubs this season. “He did what we asked him to do,” Sveum said. … Davis ended an 0-for-24 slide with a sixth-inning single.
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