Harvey outduels CC, nearly goes distance in Subway Series
By Anthony DiComo and Bryan Hoch
NEW YORK -- Matt Harvey finished one out shy of a complete game and the Mets swatted three homers off CC Sabathia, evening the Subway Series with an 8-2 victory over the Yankees on Saturday at Yankee Stadium.
Lucas Duda hit a first-inning solo shot, Kevin Plawecki notched his first Major League homer with a two-run blast in the fourth and Eric Campbell cleared the right-field wall in the sixth off Sabathia, who was battered for seven runs and nine hits in five-plus innings. Juan Lagares had four hits, tying a career high.
That was plenty of support for Harvey, who permitted just a run-scoring third-inning groundout and Mark Teixeira's seventh-inning homer in his second career start against the Yankees, striking out seven in a 107-pitch performance. It was a meaningful start for Harvey, who grew up in Connecticut and often attended Yankees home games with his father, Ed.
"Good pitchers keep you from having losing streaks," said Mets manager Terry Collins, whose team lost Friday night to snap an 11-game winning streak. "We got beat by a good team, but you've got to come back. You've got to bounce back and show that what we did was not just a fluke. And when you've got a guy like that going, he can certainly make that happen."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Harvey rises to his stage: Firing sliders as fast as 90 mph and four-seamers into the upper-90s, Harvey attacked the strike zone in by far his most efficient start of the season. The right-hander needed just 81 pitches to complete seven innings and 91 to finish eight, prompting the Mets to reward him with a crack at the ninth. He retired two batters but could not finish the job, leaving with a six-run lead after 8 2/3 innings of two-run ball.
"Once you get that close to it, you want to finish," Harvey said. "But for us, whatever works and whatever gets us the win, that's good management." More >
CC you later: Sabathia has not won a big league game in more than a year, and this time he had a four-run fourth inning to blame. Despite a terrific defensive play by Jacoby Ellsbury to take an extra-base hit away from Campbell, Sabathia surrendered a run-scoring triple to Lagares, a run-scoring single to Wilmer Flores and then Plawecki's homer. Adding insult to injury, Sabathia was slow covering first base on Curtis Granderson's ground ball to Teixeira, which was scored an infield single.
"I just want to try to help the team win, and I haven't been able to do that my four times out," Sabathia said. "This one stings a little more because I didn't give us a chance at all." More >
Welcome to the big leagues: Plawecki's first homer and career-high three-RBI day provided the latest evidence of his comfort level as Travis d'Arnaud's replacement. The 24-year-old has hit safely in three of his four starts at catcher since d'Arnaud broke his right pinkie in a game last week, with multiple hits in two of them, and he will continue to play there almost every day until d'Arnaud returns next month.
"It felt great, especially given the situation we were in," Plawecki said of his homer. "It was a good time to put a couple runs on the board, give us a little cushion. I just put a good swing on it." More >
For the love of glove: Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius contributed a highlight-reel defensive play in the third inning, leaping to take a hit away from John Mayberry Jr. Ellsbury one-upped his teammate in the fourth, ranging deep into the left-center-field gap to rob Campbell of a run-scoring extra-base hit with a sliding catch near the warning track. It was a mixed bag for Gregorius, who booted a grounder in the ninth for an error.
"I just took my eye off that ball right there, and that's what happened," Gregorius said. "I was trying to be too quick right there. I had more time than I thought."
Bottoms up: It wasn't just Plawecki, the Mets' nine-hole hitter, who contributed at the bottom of the order. Campbell homered, Flores rapped out two hits and Lagares topped them all, finishing 4-for-4 with three runs scored to raise his average 42 points.
"Wow. As good as advertised, no doubt about it. … He's a horse. He's got four plus pitches, throws them all for strikes, great demeanor out there on the mound. The Mets are in good shape. He's a cornerstone for them." -- Alex Rodriguez, on Harvey.
The final out of the game was examined on a review, as the Yankees challenged to make sure that Daniel Murphy forced out Chris Young at second base. Second-base umpire Adam Hamari's call was confirmed, allowing the Mets to shake hands and celebrate the win.
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Duda had 20 hits in 111 at-bats last season against left-handed pitchers, posting a .264 on-base percentage and .252 slugging mark. But he worked hard with hitting coach Kevin Long on that aspect of his game this spring, and the fruits of those labors have been readily apparent; Duda's first-inning homer off Sabathia was his eighth hit off a lefty in his 16th at-bat.
WHAT'S NEXT Mets: While Dillon Gee flies to Miami in advance of next week's series, his teammates will wrap up their three-game set in the Bronx on Sunday night. Left-hander Jon Niese, who was ejected from the dugout during Friday night's loss to the Yankees, will start the 8:05 p.m. ET game.
Yankees:Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 3.12 ERA) has the ball for his fourth start of the season on Sunday as the Yankees wrap this leg of the Subway Series against the Mets. Eovaldi is coming off arguably his sharpest start in a Yankees uniform, having showcased a biting slider as he held the Tigers to a run on eight hits over seven innings at Comerica Park.