Matt Harvey dazzles in major-league debut for Mets
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PHOENIX -- It was 102 degrees outside Chase Field, but Matt Harvey was bringing the heat inside for the Mets Thursday night.
The 23-year-old righthander dazzled the Diamondbacks in his major-league debut. With a fastball clocked as high as 98 mph and a devastating slider, Harvey set a franchise record for most strikeouts in a debut with 11 in 51/3 shutout innings as the Mets ended a six-game losing streak with a 3-1 win over the Diamondbacks.
"Electric stuff, for sure," manager Terry Collins said. "Tremendous composure, I thought. Obviously, due to the velocity through the first four innings, you could tell he was pretty juiced up. I haven't seen a 98 out of a starting pitcher in quite some time and saw several of them out of him today. He's lived up to exactly what everybody's talked about."
Harvey and four relievers allowed four hits and totaled 16 strikeouts. Bobby Parnell allowed two walks in the ninth but struck out the side in a 31-pitch inning for his third save.
Harvey allowed three hits, walked three and threw two wild pitches in an overpowering 106-pitch effort that brought to mind Stephen Strasburg's 14-strikeout debut for Washington against Pittsburgh in 2010.
"I didn't really know how many strikeouts I had until when I went out of the game," he said. "I just wanted to win."
Harvey, who wore No. 33, also went 2-for-2: a double to deep center in his first at-bat and a ground single to center in his second. According to Elias, he is the first pitcher since 1900 to strike out more than 10 and pick up two hits in his big-league debut.
"I grew up a hitter, so I was pretty happy with getting the knock there," Harvey said. "It was everything I could have imagined. Coming out and getting an early lead in the first inning was huge. I just wanted to go out there and do everything I could to keep the team in a winning distance. I was able to do that."
The Mets, who had lost 12 of 13 going in, gave Harvey a 2-0 lead in the first inning against rookie Wade Miley. Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy singled to open the game and scored on Scott Hairston's one-out double.
Harvey's first pitch to Gerardo Parra was a called strike at 93 mph. His second was an 83-mph slider. Strike two. After a wasted outside fastball, Harvey struck out Parra swinging on a dirty down-and-in slider (89 mph).
Jason Kubel picked up Arizona's first hit, a two-out trickler to third base that the overshifted David Wright had no chance to make a play on. Harvey ended his first big-league inning by striking out Paul Goldschmidt looking at a 96-mph heater.
In the second, Harvey fell behind Justin Upton 3-and-1 before blowing consecutive fastballs by him. Miguel Montero doubled down the rightfield line, but Stephen Drew struck out on a 97-mph fastball and Ryan Wheeler popped out to third.
In the third, Harvey struck out Parra on a slider in the dirt, but Rob Johnson -- called up from Triple-A Buffalo to catch Harvey -- couldn't handle the pitch. It went as a wild pitch and a strikeout as Parra took first. Hill followed with a line single to left. Harvey struck out Kubel swinging (97 mph) before throwing another wild pitch with Goldschmidt at the plate. On 3-and-2, Harvey caught Goldschmidt looking at a 97-mph fastball on the outside corner.
The Mets made it 3-0 in the fourth when Andres Torres tripled with one out and scored on Johnson's sacrifice fly to right.
Harvey tied the franchise mark for strikeouts in a debut with his eighth when he fanned Upton on a slider leading off the fourth. Tom Seaver and Bill Denehy each struck out eight in their Mets debuts in 1967.
In the fifth, Harvey struck out Miley to set the record and Hill to extend it. In the sixth, he walked Kubel, then struck out Goldschmidt for the third time. After a visit from pitching coach Dan Warthen, he walked Upton to end his night.
Rookie Josh Edgin retired Montero and pinch hitter Chris Young to send the game to the seventh with the Mets ahead 3-0.
Johnson said before the game that for him, the excitement was like getting to catch Roger Clemens' first start -- but then he caught himself. "I'm not saying he's going to be Roger Clemens,'' Johnson said. "I'm just saying that he has the potential to be a pretty good pitcher.''