Mets' Harvey makes dream debut

PHOENIX -- Matt Harvey briefly surveyed the scene as he took the mound at Chase Field on Thursday night for his major league debut.

The feeling that popped into his head? That he belonged.

"At that moment, I really did believe that I was meant to pitch in the big leagues," Harvey said.

Harvey, the New York Mets' first-round pick in 2010, proceeded to toss 5 1/3 scoreless innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He also dislodged Tom Seaver (as well as Bill Denehy) from the record books by recording a franchise-record 11 strikeouts in his MLB debut.

And, by the way, Harvey's performance snapped the free-falling Mets' six-game losing streak. The Mets beat the Diamondbacks 3-1.

"I felt like he felt like he belonged here," agreed catcher Rob Johnson, Harvey's batterymate with Triple-A Buffalo who was promoted to catch the rookie's debut. "And just talking to him, he was calm. He knew what he wanted to do. First innings have been a little bit rough on him. He came out of the chute throwing strikes. That was really nice to see."

Harvey struck out Gerardo Parra, the first batter he faced in the big leagues. He delivered eye-popping fastballs at 97-98 mph -- more oomph than the strong-armed Harvey delivered at Buffalo.

The adrenaline began to wear out with his pitch count at 106 and one out in the sixth inning. So Josh Edgin, a 30th-round pick in the same 2010 draft, proceeded to retire the final two outs of that frame to strand two runners inherited from Harvey and preserve a 3-0 lead.

"There's some bright spots," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "You have to look down the road and say, 'Holy cow. You've got these two guys that are young rookies coming up here and putting on a show like that.' That's pretty impressive to think that's something to build on."

As for Harvey, who was inserted into Dillon Gee's rotation spot after a failed start by now-released Miguel Batista, Collins said: "Electric stuff, for sure. Tremendous composure, I thought. Obviously, due to the velocity, the first four innings you could tell he was pretty juiced up. I haven't seen a 98 [mph pitch] out of a starting pitcher in quite some time. And I saw several out of him today. He's lived up to exactly what everybody has talked about. Now I want him to go out the next time and be a little more comfortable and pitch as effectively as he did today."

Harvey should have two more starts on this road trip -- in San Francisco and San Diego -- before making his Citi Field debut.

"I just hope everybody doesn't hope to see that electrifying stuff each and every night, because I know a lot of it was the fact it was his first game and he's got something he wants to show people [about] what he can do," Collins said. "But it was truly, truly outstanding."

What would be constructive criticism for Harvey, who allowed only three hits and three walks?

"Use your changeup," Collins said. "Use your changeup a little more. It's very, very good. It's a very good changeup. When you're throwing 98, you probably don't need it. But one of the things we saw from [Stephen] Strasburg yesterday was a very good changeup. And this kid's got one. And if he uses it, that 98 is going to look like 105."

Harvey went 2-for-2 at the plate as well. He became the first pitcher since 1900 to have 10 or more strikeouts and produce two or more hits as a batter in his major league debut, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"I grew up a hitter, so I was pretty happy with getting a knock," Harvey said, referring to a double in his first major league plate appearance against NL All-Star and fellow rookie Wade Miley.

"It was everything I could have imagined."