Matt Harvey reached 100.1 MPH on Tuesday - fastest pitch thrown by a starter this season
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 18, 2013
ATLANTA -- Matt Harvey believed he might be on track for the second no-hitter in franchise history. That is, until Jason Heyward produced an infield single up the first-base line to lead off the seventh inning.
New York Mets
After the game, though, Harvey was just thankful the Mets had held on for a 4-3 win against the Atlanta Braves. And he was upset at himself for taking the mound for the eighth inning.
"It's definitely one of those games where I definitely thought it was possible a little bit more than other ones because I was striking out a lot of guys and they weren't putting the ball in the outfield too often," Harvey said about a no-hit bit. "Any time that's going on then you think in the back of your mind, 'This is possible.'"
Harvey twice before this season had flirted with a no-hitter -- at Minnesota on April 13, then against the Chicago White Sox at Citi Field on May 7. The latter was broken up by Alex Rios' two-out single in the seventh.
Asked if this afternoon's felt the worst to see broken up because it came on a trickler up the first-base line, Harvey said: "No, no. The game with Chicago it was a seeing-eye single in the infield."
Still, he added: "I definitely don't want to get used to that."
Harvey ended up departing after loading the bases with none out in the eighth and the Mets leading 4-0. All three runners ended up scoring before Bobby Parnell entered to quell the threat.
Terry Collins speculated Harvey had lost his focus in the eighth, the inning after the no-hitter had been broken up. Harvey insisted that was not the case. Instead, Harvey said, he was out of gas on the hot day. Harvey kicked himself for not telling Collins he was done after seven innings, with his pitch count at 103.
"I should have not been so stubborn, but I don't like anybody taking the ball -- especially myself," Harvey said. "But in times like this I wish I had. ... It's one of those days I got a little extra tired. I'm kind of kicking myself for not speaking up."
As for the trickler up the first-base line that broke up the no-hit bid, Collins absolved first baseman Lucas Duda of responsibility. The manager said either the second baseman or pitcher should cover first base, or the pitcher should lunge and tag the runner. Harvey said the ball kicked just enough that he was unable to reach Heyward.
Still, Duda wanted no part of passing the buck, saying he should have read that Harvey would field the ball and retreated to first base.
"That was 100 percent my fault. I take full responsibility right there," Duda said. "I should have been at the bag."
No matter. Parnell ultimately stranded the bases loaded by striking out Chris Johnson, then converted a four-out save with a scoreless ninth. Parnell's 2009 three-inning save -- the lone other one of more than one inning in his career -- actually immediately preceded his late-season audition as a starting pitcher with the Mets.
"There was a little bit more too it, but luckily it came easy today," Parnell said about this multi-inning save.
Harvey, meanwhile, hit 100 mph in the first inning.
"The last three games I've been pretty consistently in the upper 90s," Harvey said. "Maybe it's the 100-inning mark where things start feeling good again and the strength starts amping up a little bit."
Now it's Zack Wheeler's turn tonight.
"He knows what he has to do," Harvey said. "He has to go out and just pitch a baseball game," Harvey said. "Obviously it's on a bigger scale of competition and people in the stands. But he's a baseball player. He knows what he has to do. He's going to go out there and do it."