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The Dark Knight Rises, 10 Years Later: Start #13

June 8, 2013: A 20-inning nightmare

Miami Marlins v New York Mets Photo by Andy Marlin/AM Photography/Getty Images

Here at Amazin’ Avenue, we’re marking the 10-year anniversary of Matt Harvey’s transcendent 2013 season by spending the year looking back at each of Harvey’s amazing 26 starts that season, one by one, on the anniversary day of each start. We’ll re-live one of the best pitching seasons in Mets history, start-by-start, from its zenith to its tragic end.

We continue today with his 13th start at home against the Marlins. You can read about his last start here.


Now 12 starts deep into what was shaping up to be an All-Star season (more on that a little later in the series) for Harvey, he had developed a nemesis in the light-hitting Miami Marlins. Of his 12 starts, Harvey recorded a game score of 60 or higher in nine of them. The only three where he had failed to crack a 60 game score up until this point were his start against the Reds, and his two starts against the Marlins.

Now Harvey was getting a third crack at the Marlins, this time at home for the first time. And for the second time in their three matchups, Harvey would be paired up against the Marlins young phenom pitcher, José Fernández

Though the Marlins emerged victorious the first time the two aces matched up in Miami, Fernandez gave up two runs in just four innings pitched while Harvey didn’t pitch past the fifth. Neither starter really flourished in that one. This game would turn out to be more of a representation of what these two young hurlers could do.

On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, Harvey took the mound on the sun-bathed Citi Field, and got through the first two innings perfectly with two strikeouts. For the first time, he looked like himself against the feeble Marlins lineup. Fernandez, however, was touched up a bit early on. The Mets got two hits off him in the first, though they didn’t score, but a leadoff walk in the second inning to Ike Davis set it up for Juan Lagares to knock him in on an RBI double to put Mets on the board. It was just a skinny run, but it must’ve felt like a win for the Mets at that point, who were shutout by Fernandez over 8 innings the week prior in Miami.

The Marlins recorded their first hit off Harvey in the third, but didn’t score until the fourth, when back-to-back singles by Derek Dietrich and Marcell Ozuna allowed Chris Coghlan to tie the game at 1-1 with a sacrifice fly.

From there, the two young phenoms basically entered a game of one-upmanship. Fernandez struck out the side in the bottom of the fourth. Harvey worked around some trouble to escape the 5th scoreless, though he did need help from Lagares to throw a runner out at the plate to end the inning. Fernandez tossed a perfect fifth, and Harvey followed suit and threw a perfect 6th inning with two strikeouts. Fernandez then matched Harvey with two K’s of his in a scoreless bottom half. Harvey countered with another 1-2-3 top of the 7th.

However, with his pitch count sitting at 97, Fernandez was pulled and Chad Qualls came on to relieve him in the bottom of the seventh. Harvey, however came back out for the 8th as he was sitting at just 93 pitches. He was warming up for the inning, but quickly called the trainers out.

Uh oh.

After a chat, the trainers and Terry Collins decided to pull Harvey, ending his day.

The Mets later would clarify that Harvey left the game with “lower back tightness.” This was the first injury scare for the young Harvey, so everyone was on high alert for what was to come.

That being said, the battle of the young phenoms this afternoon was now over, and the end result was essentially a draw. Both starters dazzled. Harvey tossed seven innings of one-run ball, scattering six hits while not walking anyone and striking out six Marlins. Fernandez delivered six innings of one-run ball of his own, allowing just three hits and striking out seven, though he also walked three.

The game was now on to the bullpens, meaning neither starter would factor into the decision. This was Harvey’s fourth-straight no decision, and he now had no-decisions in eight of his last nine starts despite a 2.66 ERA over that time. Hilariously, Harvey’s record still stood at 5-0 despite a 2.10 ERA through 13 starts now, while only allowing three or more runs in just three out of his 13 starts.

The game was now a battle of the bullpens, both of which were pretty listless on these two bottom-feeding teams. However, neither offense could do anything in regulation. The Mets got two on in the eighth and ninth innings, but couldn’t score. The Marlins got two on in the eighth as well and didn’t score.

Both offenses put runners in scoring position in the 10th and couldn’t score. The next RISP wouldn’t come until the 12th, when the Mets had Daniel Murphy at third with one out. Marlon Byrd then flied one out to right field, which Ozuna caught. Murphy tagged from third and tested the arm of Ozuna, which turned out to be a mistake. The throw beat him in plenty of time, and even though Murphy tried to run over the catcher, it didn’t work. He was out, and the inning was over.

So it was on to the 13th inning. The already thin Saturday afternoon crowd of 20,338 began to really thin out as the 1:10PM game now approached dinner time. Shaun Marcum was on for his second relief appearance of the season. If you’ve been reading this whole series, or remember the 2013 season, you may remember his first relief appearance was in the 16-inning affair between these two teams earlier this season. That, coincidentally, was the aforementioned first Harvey-Fernandez battle.

Anyway, the Mets once again got a runner to second but didn’t score.

In the 14th inning, the Mets got—you guessed it—a runner to second base, and—you guessed it—did not score.

In the 15th inning…well, you know the drill. Runner in scoring position. Didn’t score. Yada yada.

I regret to inform you Keith Hernandez was not on this SNY broadcast.

On the other side, Shaun Marcum was surprisingly lights out in relief. Once he retired the side in order in the 16th, he was through four shutout innings in relief.

The game mosied on to the 17th inning as 6:30PM local time passed. There were only a few thousand fans, at best, remaining in Citi Field at this time as Shaun Marcum and Kevin Slowey continued to match zeroes in long relief and push the game into the 18th. The SNY broadcast checked in with Kevin Burkhardt, who had run out of coffee creamer.

You’ll never believe this, but the Mets stranded a runner in scoring position in the 18th inning. Marcum delivered a scoreless 19th, his 7th shutout inning in relief. He had retired 15 Marlins in a row and struck out seven of them. This was starting to become the pitching performance of his life.

The 19th inning passed with the score still knotted at 1-1. It had now been 15 innings since the last run was scored. It was past 7 PM local time. Ron Darling remarked that Keith texted him “O-M-G” which surprised Ron, as he didn’t know Keith knew this particular texting shorthand.

In the 20th inning, the Marlins finally, mercifully, scored a run. With Marcum likely tiring as he crossed 100 pitches, the Marlins pieced three singles together to push a run across, and that was all they needed. The Mets, of course, did not score in the bottom of the 20th, and at 7:27PM local time, Murphy flied out to left field for the final out, and the game that started at 1:12PM EDT came to an end with the Marlins outlasting the Mets, 2-1. The Mets went an unthinkable 0-for-19 with RISP. They left an unspeakable 22 runners on base.

Is the free runner rule really that bad after all?

After the game, Harvey said his back was fine, and that he expects to make his next start, which was slated to be at home against the Cardinals.

Baseball reference box score