Washington, DC (SportsNetwork.com) – In his first regular-season start after
Tommy John surgery, Matt Harvey tossed six scoreless innings, allowed just
four hits, struck out nine and walked one, as the New York Mets held on to
defeat the Washington Nationals, 6-3, on Thursday afternoon.
Harvey last pitched in a game 593 days ago and his return was exactly what the
doctor ordered for the revamped Mets, who won two of three in this season-
opening series from the defending NL East champions.
New York, looking to turn things around and start a rivalry with the Nationals
after six straight losing seasons, dropped 15 of 19 to Washington last season
and won a series against its division foes for the first time since winning
two of three Aug. 30 – Sep. 1, 2013.
Harvey (1-0) threw 91 pitches, striking out Washington slugger Bryce Harper
three times, and outdueled Stephen Strasburg in a rare battle of aces in the
third game of the season. Harvey last pitched in a game on Aug. 24, 2013, one
day before learning he had a slight tear of the UCL ligament in his pitching
His return coincides with a youth movement that includes a couple of well-
placed veterans, all of whom contributed in the rubber game of this series.
Mainstay David Wright had two hits and two RBI, while veteran free agent
addition outfielder Michael Cuddyer also had two hits and drove in a run.
Meanwhile, youngsters like Harvey and his battery mate Travis d’Arnaud also
came through. D’Arnaud went 2-for-4 with two RBI.
Strasburg (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing six runs — three earned — on
nine hits over 5 1/3 innings. The right-hander, who has also had Tommy John
surgery, struck out five and walked three.
Ian Desmond had a rough series for Washington, committing his third error of
the series in the third inning leading to a four-run frame for the Mets.
After Curtis Granderson singled, Wright reached on a fielding error by Desmond
at short that could’ve been an inning-ending double play. Strasburg then hurt
his cause, hitting Lucas Duda with a pitch to load the bases for Cuddyer, who
singled to right to chase home Granderson.
Daniel Murphy followed with a high-chop infield hit to no-man’s land between
the mound and first base to score Wright with the second run, and one out
later, d’Arnaud blooped a single to left to score Duda and Cuddyer for a four-
Desmond’s three errors in the series led to six unearned run. His two miscues
in the series opener allowed the Mets to escape with a 3-1 win against ace Max
New York forced Strasburg from the game in the sixth inning. D’Arnaud and
Wilmer Flores led off the inning with singles and Granderson loaded the bases
with a one-out walk for Wright, who singled to right to score two for a 6-0
Washington reliever Xavier Cedeno came on for Strasburg to strike out Duda and
Cuddyer to end the inning to limit the damage.
The Nationals got on the board in the seventh when Michael Taylor doubled home
two runs off reliever Buddy Carlyle, the first runs charged to the New York
bullpen this season. Both runs were charged to Mets reliever Alex Torres, who
started the inning and walked two batters.
Washington added another run in the ninth off Jeurys Familia when Reed Johnson
singled home Desmond, but couldn’t get any closer.
Harvey went 1-1 with a 1.19 ERA, striking out 22 and walking one, in six
spring training starts … Desmond’s second-inning double was his first hit of
the season. He ended 2-for-3 … Granderson’s third-inning single ended an 0-
for-7 slump to start the season … The Mets travel to Atlanta for a
three-game weekend set against the Braves … Washington travels to
Philadelphia for its first road trip of the season beginning on Friday.