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Harvey off to strong start, Mets blank Phillies 2-0

April 4, 2018

New York Mets' Matt Harvey (33) delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies Tuesday, April 3, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

NEW YORK (AP) — For the first time in a long while, Matt Harvey was healthy and happy with his results on the mound.

Harvey allowed one hit over five spotless innings in his encouraging season debut , and the New York Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-0 on a rainy Tuesday night at Citi Field.

“He’s got that look in his eye back, when he was dominant,” Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud said. “Even in the bullpen, you can just see it. He’s back to what he was before.”

With most seats empty in the 40-degree mist, Harvey gave the Mets reason to believe he can rebound this year from two terrible seasons interrupted by injury.

Perhaps most important, he was effective for an entire outing without his sharpest stuff.

“I think it’s just knowing that I’m healthy and that I can go out there and I’m not in pain,” Harvey said. “There’s no issues.”

Though his fastball usually clocked 91-93 mph, down from the crackling heat he used to bring, the right-hander moved his pitches around the plate and showed much better command with all of them.

“He looked really good. He didn’t have his best stuff, as you could see, but he looked good. Confidence is there,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. “I think he can be very effective. I think he is going to throw 96 (mph). ... I think if it were a warm summer day, you would have seen a little bit more velo out of him. But he really did a good job.”

Todd Frazier hit a run-scoring double in the sixth and d’Arnaud added a two-out RBI single that chased Ben Lively (0-1), who plunked Yoenis Cespedes with a pitch to begin the rally.

Philadelphia put runners at the corners with one out in the ninth, but Jeurys Familia finished the three-hitter for his second save.

First baseman Wilmer Flores, who had just entered as a pinch-hitter, leaned over the dugout railing to make a nice grab of Scott Kingery’s foul popup. Pinch-hitter Andrew Knapp grounded out to end it.

Harvey struck out five, walked one and refused a jacket on the bases after his leadoff single in the third. The strikeouts were his most in a game since mid-June last year.

“Obviously, going five innings and not giving up a ton of runs is definitely a plus,” he said. “It’s something I haven’t usually been used to here, so it was nice to get that done.”

The only hit Harvey permitted on 86 pitches was a leadoff single by Rhys Hoskins in the second.

“I thought Harvey attacked the strike zone pretty good,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “Thought it was interesting to see him go out and compete like that. Good job by him.”

Jerry Blevins (1-0) retired Odubel Herrera with two on to end the sixth. Seth Lugo followed with two perfect innings , striking out four.

Lively gave up six hits and walked one as the Phillies fell to 1-3 in Kapler’s first season at the helm. The right-hander struck out five.

“He was exceptional. We knew that he was going to be gritty on a really cold night. He showed that tremendous competitiveness,” Kapler said.

After the scheduled series opener was postponed Monday by snow, New York improved to 3-1 under its own rookie manager in Callaway.

PEN PATROL

An embattled Kapler has been taking criticism for heavy use of his relievers last weekend in Atlanta — and a mix-up that led to him summoning one who wasn’t even warmed up. “It’s my responsibility,” Kapler said before the game. “I spent the last 48 hours digging into how to improve our bullpen usage and be really good at it going forward.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Phillies: RHP Pat Neshek, on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right shoulder, was sent for an MRI. ... RHP Mark Leiter Jr. (strained right flexor pronator) was having more tests on his forearm. ... RHP Tommy Hunter (strained hamstring) threw well Monday during a simulated game in Florida but still feels a little tightness in his hamstring and there is no timetable for his return, Kapler said. ... RHP Jake Arrieta threw 66 pitches Monday during his simulated game in Florida and remains scheduled to make his Phillies debut Sunday at home against Miami.

Mets: CF Brandon Nimmo was back in the leadoff spot after getting scratched Sunday because of flu-like symptoms. ... SS Amed Rosario was rested in favor of Jose Reyes. Rosario entered on defense in the seventh. ... New reliever Anthony Swarzak was placed on the 10-day DL with a strained left oblique and expects to miss at least a few weeks. ... Callaway said All-Star OF Michael Conforto (shoulder surgery) could come off the disabled list this week in Washington. New York begins a three-game series against the NL East rival Nationals on Thursday, the first day Conforto is eligible to be activated. “He’s ready to go,” Callaway said.

UP NEXT

Phillies: RHP Aaron Nola pitches the series finale Wednesday afternoon, weather permitting. Nola won both his starts against the Mets last year. He was pulled with a 5-0 lead after only 68 pitches Thursday night in Atlanta, and the Braves rallied for an 8-5 victory.

Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard (1-0) struck out 10 in six innings while beating St. Louis 9-4 on opening day. He is 4-1 with a 1.78 ERA in six career outings against the Phillies.

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