It was unclear how the Citi faithful would greet Matt Harvey on his return to Queens for his first time pitching against the Mets. Thankfully, the fans showed class and gave Harvey the ovation of a returning hero, a moment that Harvey admitted brought tears to his eyes. It was nice to see the fans acknowledge all that Harvey did for the franchise, whether it was give them relevance in 2013, or his dominant (first 8 innings) World Series Game 5 performance in 2015.
His former teammates, however, were not so kind.
After a solid first inning, Harvey ran into trouble in the second. Pete Alonso hit an opposite field double, and moved over to third on a Dominic Smith single. Kevin Pillar continued his hot streak, ripping a triple to deep left field, scoring both Alonso and Smith. The next better was Jose Peraza, who hit the first of two RBI-singles, putting the Mets up 3-0.
In the third, Francisco Lindor led off with a single to right field and, after multiple throws over by Harvey, stole second base. Smith then drove him in with his second opposite field single of the day.
Harvey would come out for the fifth, but only record one out before being run from the game. In a repeat of the third inning, Jonathan Villar led off with a single and stole second base. Michael Conforto singled home Villar, to put the Mets up 5-0. After a walk to Pete Alonso, Harvey was pulled in favor of Shawn Armstrong. Smith would then double home Conforto before Peraza drove in Alonso, and all seven runs were charged to Harvey.
Taijuan Walker continued his recent trend of going deeper into ballgames, throwing seven innings of one run ball. The only blemish on the afternoon was when Walker walked Freddy Galvis to start the inning and, after a pair of soft singles, came around to score. While Walker gave up some hard contact early, he was aided by some strong defensive play, including a diving catch by Conforto, who is looking more and more like an above-average right fielder each day.
Overall, Walker went seven strong innings, giving up four hits and three walks, along with three strikeouts. While he is still walking too many batters and, at times, giving up solid contact, the Mets’ defense seems to show up for Walker each time out, and so the mistakes have not come back to haunt him as badly as they could have.
Robert Gsellman had a rough start to the eighth inning, walking Cedric Mullins and giving up a single to Austin Hays. A pair of ground outs kept the runs off the board, but a walk to Galvis loaded the bases. A Mikail Franco line out ended the threat.
Recent call-up Drew Smith pitched a perfect ninth, ending the game with a strikeout of Pat Valaika to hand the Mets their seventh straight victory, and the end of a five-game home stand.
The Mets have tomorrow off before traveling to Tampa Bay for a three-game set with the Rays.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Taijuan Walker, +19.9% WPA
Big Mets loser: Tomas Nido, -2.1% WPA
Mets pitchers: +20.5% WPA
Mets hitters: +29.5% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Kevin Pillar’s 2-run triple, +14.3% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Rio Ruiz’s second inning walk, -3.9% WPA