SAN DIEGO -- Drops of blood stained Matt Harvey's uniform near his left shoulder. While shaving before Sunday's start against the Padres, the Mets righthander nicked himself, the first in a day filled with small cuts.
Harvey pitched well enough for his 10th victory of the season but instead received his 12th no-decision of the season in the Mets' 4-3 walk-off loss.
The Padres scored both of their runs off him in the fifth inning without a solid hit. When Andrew Brown pinch hit for Harvey in the top of the seventh and doubled to give the Mets a 3-2 lead, he was the pitcher of record on the winning side, but the bullpen let the game get away.
The Padres' Will Venable won it with one swing in the ninth, blasting a solo homer off Pedro Feliciano that hugged the rightfield line. "He's pretty hot right now, and he went down and got it," said Feliciano, who was in the game for his prowess against lefthanded hitters such as Venable.
Doubled over at the mound, Feliciano looked up in time to see Venable touch home plate, officially forcing the Mets to settle for a split of the four-game series. They will play a makeup game against the Twins in Minnesota Monday afternoon with no chance of finishing with a winning record on the 11-game trip.
Harvey has a 2.42 ERA in his 12 no-decisions, an indication of just how much the Mets have failed to capitalize on his brilliance. Now their chances of improving upon their 13-12 record with Harvey on the mound might be dwindling. Terry Collins pulled Harvey after six innings and 86 pitches as part of the effort to keep him under his innings limit in his first full season in the big leagues.
"He's done what he's done all year for us," Collins said of Harvey, who allowed two runs, struck out six and walked none. And the Mets did what they've done for Harvey for much of the year -- not enough to secure a win.
Harvey has pitched well enough to put his name in consideration for the Cy Young Award, posting an ERA of 2.25, but has only nine wins to show for it. "That's baseball," he said. "It's been happening quite a bit and obviously, in a start like today, I needed to go out and not give up runs like I did in the fifth inning."
Marlon Byrd doubled home a run in the first and Wilmer Flores lifted a sacrifice fly in the fourth. But with a 2-0 lead to protect in the fifth, Harvey watched it trickle away amid a hail of bleeders.
Harvey plunked Logan Forsythe on the left elbow with a first-pitch breaking ball. Nick Hundley flicked a slider off the end of his bat into short right-centerfield, just out of the reach of diving second baseman Justin Turner. Pitcher Eric Stults moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt ahead of Venable, whose high chopper grazed the edge of Harvey's mitt and went for an infield hit, allowing Forsythe to score. One batter later, the Padres tied it on the only well-hit ball of the inning. Juan Lagares ran down Alexi Amarista's drive to the gap in right-center, turning a potential extra-base hit into a sacrifice fly.
"Things weren't quite going my way in that inning," Harvey said. "The ball was just out of my reach. I feel like I should have made that play, but it didn't work out that way. I made good pitches and they just put them in play and found some holes."
One inning later, he was through, but Brown batted for him in the seventh and doubled to give the Mets a 3-2 lead. Before Feliciano got burned in the ninth, Gonzalez Germen let a leadoff walk turn into the tying run in the eighth on Chris Denorfia's RBI infield hit, officially giving Harvey another no-decision.
"Of course he's frustrated," Collins said. "But he also knows that he has no control over that."