By Scott Merkin and Troy Provost-Heron
NEW YORK -- After a rough start to the season, Matt Harvey bounced back in a big way, tossing seven innings of two-hit ball to outduel Jose Quintana and help guide the Mets to a 1-0 series-opening victory on Monday at Citi Field.
"There's a lot of emotion," Harvey said. "It's been awhile. … The idea is to do everything you can to help the team, and I felt like I wasn't doing that very well. Today, to be able to go out in a one-run ballgame like that and be able to put up zeros, was very exciting."
While Harvey had it going, so did Quintana, who allowed six hits over seven innings while striking seven. Quintana, however, made a key mistake: serving up a leadoff home run to Mets second baseman Neil Walker in the seventh on a 90-mph four-seam fastball.
"I felt really good today, tough game," Quintana said. "That happens when you have a mistake around the zone, and that's all."
After giving up six runs in two innings over the weekend against the Dodgers, Jeurys Familia put that series behind him by setting the White Sox down in order in the ninth to pick up his 17th save of the season.
"I thought, to be honest, it's that 'get back on the horse' thing," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We felt we had to go to [Familia] today. There was no hesitation on my part. I don't know how anybody else felt. When we got there, I just said, 'This has got to be his time.'"
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Third time's the charm: Harvey entered Monday's outing having allowed a .509 average when facing a batter for the third time. In the seventh, it seemed like that trend would continue after the 27-year-old walked Adam Eaton to lead off the inning and followed that up by surrendering a single to Jose Abreu. Melky Cabrera advanced the runners on a sacrifice bunt, but Harvey managed to escape the inning unscathed after getting Todd Frazier to pop out and J.B. Shuck to ground out. More >
Don't mess with the Melk-man:Asdrubal Cabrera connected for a one-out single to left off of Quintana in the sixth inning, but tried to turn it into a double. Melky Cabrera would have none of it, firing a strike to second baseman Brett Lawrie to nail Cabrera.
Flores flies: Harvey was terrific on Monday, but he did get some help from his defense. Following Shuck's single in the fifth, Lawrie squared up a 97-mph fastball from Harvey and shot it toward right field, but Wilmer Flores, making his third start of the season at first base, made a diving catch and doubled off Shuck at first to end the inning.
"The way things have been going, if that ball goes off his glove and trickles into right field, they have first and third and a big inning going," Collins said. "Flo made a great play on it, and I think that could be the play of the game for us, no doubt."
Quintana deserves better: There wasn't much difference between the dominance of Harvey and Quintana on Monday, but it was Quintana who lost for a fourth straight start. The White Sox have scored a total of three runs during those four. Quintana got beat on the Walker home run, but managed to pitch out of more trouble by stranding two in the seventh. Quintana's ERA sits at 2.13 through 11 starts, nine of which he's allowed two runs or fewer.
"Even in that seventh when [Quintana] came back out and gave up one [run], he was in a spot where he could let up and maybe give up two, but he grinded through it," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "It's the usual. This is stuff we see out of him all the time. If we could score, he'd have a better record, and everybody would know his name."
"We try to forget everything, the losses, and start again. Tomorrow we'll try to get the first win." -- Quintana
"Like I said at the very beginning of the year when people were asking about our hot start, there's going to be a time where we don't play well, and we've just got to kind of weather the storm and kind of ride out those peaks and valleys during the course of the season and try to finish strong, because going toward the end of the season, that's when you want to be playing your best baseball." -- White Sox catcher Alex Avila
WHAT'S NEXT White Sox:Mat Latos (6-1, 4.06) will be pitching on seven days of rest when he takes the mound on Tuesday night at Citi Field at 6:10 p.m. CT. The right-hander has a 9-4 record with a 3.93 ERA over 21 Interleague starts.
Mets:Steven Matz (7-1, 2.36 ERA) enters his start against the White Sox on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. ET having won each of his last seven outings, posting a 1.13 ERA over that span. In two career Interleague starts, the left-hander is 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA.