The Mets' frustration after a 2-1, 20-inning loss to the Marlins Saturday, the longest extra-inning game in Citi Field history, easily will be erased if Matt Harvey's self-diagnosed hip issue is not a lasting injury. He said he is OK, but only time will tell.
Harvey stayed around to allay any fears about his well-being, and it was a long wait: The game took 6 hours, 25 minutes. Shaun Marcum, who pitched eight terrific innings in relief, was tagged with the loss after Adeiny Hechavarria's RBI single with two outs in the top of the 20th.
Harvey allowed one run and struck out six in seven innings. He was about to pitch the eighth inning with the score tied at 1 when manager Terry Collins came to the mound.
Harvey singled in the seventh and told first-base coach Tom Goodwin about some discomfort in the area of his right hip. Goodwin relayed that information to Collins. "He said it loosened up as he warmed up,'' Collins said. "I said, 'Sorry, that will be enough for tonight.' Had I known a little bit earlier, I might not have let him hit. That's his nature, that's how tough he is. He wanted to get out there and pitch.''
The Mets termed Harvey's injury "lower back tightness'' during the game and did not update it afterward. There was no mention of any diagnostic procedures.
Harvey, who remains 5-0 after his eighth no-decision, explained what happened:
"It's fine now. I think it was after the last pitch in the seventh. I felt a little tightness coming in my lower back right on the hip area. As soon as I came in and [the trainers] worked on it, it kind of popped right back into place. Obviously, everything's fine and I'll be ready to go for my next start.
"I felt it when I went out to hit, thought it would maybe pop back in, but unfortunately it didn't. Terry made the right call being precautionary. I was fine to pitch; he didn't want to risk more injury.
"I'm ready to go for my next start whether that's Thursday or Friday . . . Everything's fine, I'm good to go, there's no major issue at all.''
Harvey said he experienced the same issue when pitching in college for North Carolina. "The hips just got a little out of line,'' he said, "and I don't necessarily know exactly what they did, but a little pop and it was back into place. My legs, I guess one of them ended up being a little bit longer than the other, so they had to kind of pull it out. Minor thing, never an issue. I could have gone back out there.''
That wasn't going to happen with the modern-day Franchise. "We're coming to expect a lot out of him and he continues to deliver,'' Collins said. "He gave us another good outing today. When he gives up a run, it's almost surprising at times. Right now our major concern is that in five days, if not six days, he's back on the mound.''
The Marlins' only run off Harvey came on a sacrifice fly by Chris Coghlan in the fourth inning. The Mets had scored in the second against Jose Fernandez on an RBI double by Juan Lagares. Lagares also threw out Hechavarria at the plate in the fifth, preserving the tie for Harvey.
In the 12th, Marlins rightfielder Marcell Ozuna caught Marlon Byrd's drive to right and threw out Daniel Murphy at the plate for an inning-ending double play. Murphy plowed into catcher Rob Brantly, who held on to the ball with his bare hand despite being sent flying.
The Mets had 13 hits and left 22 on base. "We're not getting it done, that's the bottom line,'' Collins said. "Not doing the things that got a lot of us to the big leagues.''
Harvey, perfectionist that he is, had a different take. "For us to win in nine innings,'' he said, "I shouldn't have given up a run.''