Rain shortens Matt Harvey's outing but doesn't dampen it

Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey delivers during the

Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey delivers during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies. (June 23, 2013) (Credit: AP)

PHILADELPHIA - On a steamy afternoon when the mercury hit 87 degrees and Matt Harvey's fastball touched 100 miles per hour, only a sudden summer shower could cool off the Mets' 24-year-old ace.

Harvey breezed through six innings of what would become an 8-0 win over the Phillies Sunday at Citizens Bank Park before a 20-minute rain delay ended his day after 72 pitches.

Mets manager Terry Collins said that once the delay dragged beyond 15 minutes, there was no way Harvey was going back out.

"I explained to him that the upside was just too high," Collins said. " 'You pitched your brains out the last two starts.' We've gotta keep moving forward. I don't want to take a step back. He understood."

Harvey, who allowed two hits and a walk, struck out six and went 1-for-3 with an RBI double and a run scored, certainly could have argued. He'd thrown a combined 15 pitches in the previous two innings before the rain arrived. But he gave way to LaTroy Hawkins.

Harvey -- who had a 10-game stretch in which he went 1-1 with eight no-decisions despite a 2.51 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in that span -- now has won twice in six days to lift his record to 7-1 with a 2.05 ERA.

"We're gonna get real tired of talking about how good this guy is," Collins said.

Harvey opened by striking out Jimmy Rollins and retiring the Phillies in order on 11 pitches. Ryan Howard led off the second with a bloop single to left, but Harvey retired the next three in order, striking out two. He retired the side on 12 pitches in the third.

Harvey escaped a one-out, first-and-third jam with a strikeout and a groundout in the fourth. He retired the side in order on six pitches in the fifth and nine pitches in the sixth.

Collins praised Harvey's quick work and ability to induce groundouts, but some of his strikeouts were spectacular. When he fanned Ben Revere in the second, the final pitch hit triple digits on the radar gun.

"Yeah," Harvey said when asked if 100 mph feels different. "I let that one go."

Collins speculated that the rising temperatures have played a part in Harvey's increased velocity and said he'd expect to see it continue "at times."

Harvey also helped himself at the plate. His RBI double in the fifth put the Mets ahead 2-0 and he scored on Eric Young's double. "I felt pretty locked in," Harvey deadpanned before cracking a smile.

The Mets likely will push back Dillon Gee and have Harvey start Friday against the Nationals at Citi Field. But one teammate had an idea for getting him in a game even sooner. Said David Wright: "He might be DHing for us in Chicago."

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