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Matt Harvey frustrated by ill-fated slider

NEW YORK -- Matt Harvey's biggest regret Friday was a fourth-inning backdoor slider to Justin Bour that caught too much of the plate.

Bour launched the pitch for a three-run homer, and the Miami Marlins held on to beat Harvey and the New York Mets 4-3 in the series opener at Citi Field.

"It's frustrating, obviously," Harvey said. "I wish I could have that pitch back."

Harvey nonetheless expressed satisfaction that he rallied and completed eight innings. He was charged with four runs on six hits and a walk while striking out 11 in a 105-pitch effort.

In his previous outing, Harvey allowed a career-high seven runs in a career-low four innings at Pittsburgh. Manager Terry Collins suggested Harvey was going through a "dead-arm" phase during that start.

"I think using that word for people is kind of alarming," Harvey said. "I didn't feel like I was dead. I just kind of got out of my mechanics. ... When you have missed a year and you go out there and battle every time, you're finding out again what your mechanics are doing. For me, I think, mechanics-wise it was a lot better this time. We've just got to keep that going and really just stay focused on that."

Harvey was somewhat introspective about the challenges of returning after missing the entire 2014 season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

"When you miss a whole year and then you kind of jump back in, you've got to get used to staying focused all the time and not just going through the motions," Harvey said. "Overall, physical-wise, things are much better this time than the last time [in Pittsburgh]. I'm just trying to get back in the groove of throwing every five, six days."

Harvey was pitching on an extra day of rest this time because of Thursday's team day off. Going forward, he regularly will pitch on extra rest because the Mets are switching to a six-man rotation.

While not a fan of extra rest, Harvey said: "It's something that we're all going to have to manage. Whatever they decide is up to them. As for us and the staff, we have to do everything we can to stay sharp in between. ... We can't let a six-man rotation or extra rest get in the way of performing. That's up to us."

As for his past week, the ace added: "Nobody is more frustrated than I am about the last two outings. Today, obviously, felt better. I felt stronger and like I was in control. And then I leave a pitch over the middle, and try to throw a slider backdoor, and it kind of spun over the middle and cost us the game -- cost me the game. I'm frustrated."

Harvey then noted he was pleased he kept the Marlins to one run the remainder of his outing.

"At that point I knew it was just three runs," Harvey said about Bour's homer, which gave the Marlins a 3-0 lead in the fourth. "The big thing was trying to keep the pitch count down and go as long as we could. I was happy that I got to eight innings and kind of kept the game somewhat within reach. It's just frustrating. I'm obviously not happy. I needed to put up zeroes and I wasn't able to do that."

In analyzing his pitch quality as compared with his outing in Pittsburgh, Harvey said: "I was able to throw the slider a little bit better. I was still up in the zone quite a bit with the fastball. But I think I used it a little bit more effectively with two strikes."

He said that Dee Gordon's bunt single to begin the fourth inning did not distract him. Harvey had tossed three perfect frames to open the game. However, concentrating on Gordon as a steal threat once he reached first base might have contributed to Martin Prado subsequently walking, Harvey acknowledged. Bour followed that walk to Prado with a one-out, three-run homer.

"Maybe to Prado I didn't get quite as locked in as I should," Harvey said.