KANSAS CITY -- There was no singular play, no one inning that doomed Matt Harvey in the Mets' 4-3 Opening Night loss to the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. There was no one thing in particular that unstitched his evening.
But his night did unravel, just as surely as the Royals re-established their ability to batter the game's best arms. Eight singles here, a couple of walks there, an error and an unearned run over there -- all of it added up to an early exit and a frustrating defeat.
"It's not the way I wanted to start the season," Harvey said.
Yoenis Cespedes' fielding error in the first inning may have led to an unearned run against Harvey, but it's not as though the Royals relented after that. Two more hits in the fourth inning generated a second run. A leadoff walk in the sixth sparked a two-run rally, leading to Harvey's exit.
In all, Harvey lasted 5 2/3 innings, giving up eight hits -- all singles, many of them not particularly well struck -- and two walks. Such is the reputation the Royals have created; striking out just twice in 25 plate appearances against Harvey, the Royals proved once again how adept they are at putting high-velocity pitches in play.
"I thought he did a great job, for the most part," catcher Travis d'Arnaud said. "Unfortunately, he just left a couple pitches over the middle, and they were able to capitalize."
Consider it an apt conclusion to a disjointed week for Harvey, who started Opening Night less than a week after passing a blood clot from his bladder. That issue forced him out of his final spring outing, though he wound up making an abbreviated start one day later than scheduled. Over the days that followed, Harvey staged a media boycott, a response to the tabloid headlines that mocked his medical condition.
So it was with all that as a backdrop that he took the mound in Kansas City, eliciting the loudest pregame jeer of any Met from the crowd at Kauffman Stadium. Not six months earlier, Harvey had walked off the Citi Field mound after allowing the Royals to rally against him in the ninth inning of their World Series-clinching game.
What could have been a redemptive night fell just a bit flat.
"There were times that I felt fine, and other times it was just hard finding a rhythm and getting my release point," Harvey said. "I made some pitches when I had to, and wasn't able to when I really needed to. So that's a disappointment, and pretty frustrating."