Harvey delivers quality start after laboring early

Mets righty throws 47 pitches in first two innings, but still last 6 2/3 frames

Harvey delivers quality start after laboring early

ATLANTA -- After the first two innings of the Mets' 1-0 loss to the Braves on Sunday at Turner Field, it looked like Matt Harvey would again have to make some adjustments to get past some early struggles.

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Harvey threw 24 pitches in the first inning and allowed Cameron Maybin to reach second base after a walk and a stolen base. In the second inning, Harvey threw 23 more pitches, again finding himself in a jam with runners on first and third.

But he pitched out of both jams, settling down to throw 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball. He allowed six hits and a walk while striking out five.

"I know our bullpen was pretty tired," Harvey said, "so I had to start finding the zone a little bit more, start attacking a little bit better, and I was able to do that."

After throwing 47 pitches in the first two innings, Harvey threw just 68 (just over 14 pitches per inning) the rest of the game. While still throwing roughly the same percentage of strikes, the right-hander managed to find quicker innings and finish off at-bats more efficiently.

"I think the work that we've been doing in between starts is definitely paying off," Harvey said. "[I] just have to keep that rolling, keep that going. [My] body feels great, everything feels fine right now."

Harvey's day ended in the seventh inning after allowing a two-out double off the left-field wall to Ryan Lavarnway and an RBI single to pinch-hitter Pedro Ciriaco on a 2-0 count.

"Getting behind in that situation was not ideal," Harvey said. "I felt like I made a good pitch -- it was low and in ... but he found a hole."

And while Harvey's line would normally set him up nicely for a win, that hasn't been the case for this New York team over the past several days.

"We're getting used to it," said Mets manager Terry Collins. "Watching some pretty good pitching, and we can't score.

"It's been a little frustrating for everybody, but Matt pitched a great game."

Harvey lowered his ERA to 3.18, but his record fell to 7-5. He was visibly frustrated after the game, but said that the entire team was and faulted himself for the decisive seventh inning.

"I think it's a tough series for all of us," he said. "We're all disappointed. I'm kicking myself for those two batters in the seventh.

"[We have to] take this week, take this series and put it behind us and keep working for our next one."

Carlos Collazo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.