The last time he was at Yankee Stadium, Matt Harvey was sitting in the stands wearing a Knicks cap attending Derek Jeter's final home game. The date was Sept. 25, 2014.
The Mets were playing that night in Washington. Harvey, still on the mend from Tommy John surgery, said he just wanted to show a little "re2pect" to the Yankees' captain.
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Exactly seven months later, Harvey was back in the Bronx, and he didn't show the Yankees anything other than how dominant he can be.
How about striking out Alex Rodriguez for the second out of the ninth inning on a 98-mph fastball? That, ladies and gentleman, was Matt Harvey.
Harvey allowed two runs in 8 2/3 innings and the Mets homered three times off CC Sabathia to even the Subway Series at a game apiece with an 8-2 win over the Yankees Saturday before a sellout crowd of 47,909.
"Wow. As good as advertised," Rodriguez said. "No doubt. He's a horse.''
Harvey, who grew up as a Yankees fan in New London, Connecticut, made his first start at Yankee Stadium. He improved to 4-0 with a 3.04 ERA in his comeback campaign by giving up five hits, walking two and striking out seven. He threw 107 pitches.
"This is a stage that he dies to pitch on," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "This is why he pitches: to be in these situations. I knew when the game started today he was going to pitch well. This is what makes this guy tick."
Harvey also deftly avoided any questions about his former Yankees fandom.
"It was exciting to do that here," he said of the win. "But I'm a New York Met."
With an extra day off planned before his next start, Collins tried to get Harvey his second career complete game. But after the strikeout of A-Rod, Harvey allowed a single to Mark Teixeira -- who hit his eighth homer and also had two singles -- and walked Brian McCann.
Collins called on Carlos Torres, who got Chris Young to hit into a forceout to end the game.
"I still felt good," Harvey said. "I felt strong and I think they could see that. I thank them for letting me try for the ninth."
The Mets improved to 14-4 after an 11-game winning streak was snapped Friday night. Lucas Duda smacked a solo shot in the first inning, rookie catcher Kevin Plawecki hit a two-run blast for his first major-league home run in the fourth, Eric Campbell launched a solo shot in the sixth and Juan Lagares went 4-for-4 with a triple, three runs and an RBI. Six of the Mets' runs scored with two outs.
Sabathia, who allowed seven runs and nine hits in five innings-plus, fell to 0-4 and saw his ERA climb to 5.96. The Yankees (10-8) had won four in a row.
Nathan Eovaldi will face Jon Niese in Sunday night's series finale. The teams will meet again Sept. 18-20 at Citi Field.
The Mets are working to manage Harvey's innings to make sure he will be available in late September and (they hope) deep into October. The Yankees obliged in one way as they went after Harvey's first pitch in seven of their first 12 at-bats.
That strategy didn't lead to many hits, but it did help keep Harvey's pitch count down. He showed no ill effects of a sprained left ankle that sent him to the doctor Wednesday.
In one of the more anticipated matchups of the early season, Harvey handled Rodriguez with ease. A-Rod struck out on an 89-mph changeup in the first inning after swinging through two fastballs, one at 96 and the other at 97. He also grounded back to Harvey in the third and bounced to short in the sixth.
Duda gave the Mets a 1-0 lead in the first with a line-drive homer into the short porch in right. It was his second home run of the season.
The Yankees tied it when Stephen Drew hit the first pitch of the bottom of the third high off the right-centerfield wall for a double and scored on Jacoby Ellsbury's double-play grounder.
The Mets scored four runs in the fourth against Sabathia and could have had more if not for sliding catches by Ellsbury in center and Brett Gardner in left. (Ellsbury left the game in the eighth with hip tightness.)
Still, the Mets used an RBI triple by Lagares, a run-scoring single by Wilmer Flores and Plawecki's two-run homer to left to build a 5-1 advantage.
Campbell hit his first homer of the season in the sixth to make it 6-1. Sabathia exited after allowing a single to Lagares, who later scored on the second of two wild pitches by Esmil Rogers.
Teixeira hit his third home run in two games in the seventh to make it 7-2.
Plawecki, in his fourth big-league game, added an RBI single in the eighth to cap his career day.
"He's obviously the star of the game," Harvey said.
It was pretty much the only time he was wrong all day.