Terry Collins thought this was his lucky day -- Matt Harvey Day. The Mets had lost in extra innings the previous two nights against the Pirates, but Collins took comfort in having Harvey try to salvage Sunday's series finale at Citi Field.
"We're very lucky to have him today," he said before the game. "This is when the Matt Harveys of the world step up and give you the game you need."
Harvey held Pittsburgh to one run but went only six innings because he had thrown 103 pitches. Even if there had not been a 42-minute rain delay in the bottom of the sixth, he would not have pitched the seventh.
Bobby Parnell replaced him and a tie game soon became untied in a four-run seventh. So the Pirates followed up on their home sweep of the Mets in May by finishing off a road sweep, beating the NL East leaders, 8-1.
"It was a rough day; it was a rough series," Harvey said. "But we're still in good position, and we're happy where we are . . . We've got to flush this one and move forward."
Harvey should be better than 11-7, but the Mets' bats have been known to go dark for the Dark Knight. This marked his fifth no-decision in which he yielded one or no runs. It also was his 16th career start in which he yielded one or no runs and didn't win, the most for a pitcher across his first 59 games in the last century. His ERA is 2.57, and in his past four starts, he has a 0.63 ERA, 25 strikeouts and one walk in 282/3 innings.
"He wasn't as sharp as he normally is, but I'll tell you, our starting pitching battles," Collins said. "Matt didn't give in."
Harvey fanned six and finally walked one after 33 innings. He gave up seven hits, and only one caused damage. Pedro Alvarez opened the second with a home run, ending Harvey's scoreless streak at 16 innings, which tied a career high.
"Having the slider and being able to throw the changeup when I needed to was definitely a help," he said. "Obviously, they hit some balls hard. But luckily, it was either with nobody on or right at somebody. So today was definitely a struggle."
Pittsburgh tagged Harvey for two-out triples in the third and fifth, but he got Neil Walker to ground out after the first one and Starling Marte to look at a 92-mph slider after the second.
"He found all his pitches as the game went on," Travis d'Arnaud said. "So I thought he got better and better as the game went on."