NEW YORK -- The New York Mets wasted no time getting their first hit Wednesday.
They even built a lead for Matt Harvey.
Shockingly, a night after rookie Chris Heston’s no-hitter, Harvey failed to hold the two-run advantage and carry the Mets to victory.
The Mets (31-29) dropped a half-game behind the Washington Nationals for first place in the NL East. Since their long-forgotten 11-game winning streak, the Amazin’s have produced an 18-26 record.
Harvey (6-4) has now allowed a career-high seven runs in two of his past four starts. The Pittsburgh Pirates also posted that scoring output on May 23 at PNC Park, when Harvey lasted a career-low four innings.
Harvey has allowed eight homers in his past four starts. He allowed seven in 26 starts during his All-Star season in 2013, which was cut short by the torn UCL in his pitching elbow in late August.
If anything, Harvey merely is demonstrating he is not superhuman, despite his nickname “The Dark Knight.” Even elite starting pitchers experience inconsistency in their first year back from Tommy John surgery. Case in point: St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright had a 3.94 ERA in 2012 -- his first season back from the elbow procedure. Wainwright had a 2.94 ERA a year later and finished second to Clayton Kershaw in NL Cy Young balloting.
Harvey has allowed at least one long ball in a career-high four straight starts. He was charged with seven runs on nine hits and two walks in six innings. He threw 100 pitches. Harvey’s season ERA swelled to 3.62.
After the Giants staked Tim Hudson to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on St. John’s product Joe Panik’s homer, Curtis Granderson swiftly got the Mets on the scoreboard a half-inning later -- well, in the hit column, at least.
Granderson cleared Giants center fielder Angel Pagan’s head, but must have thought he flied out, because he stopped after rounding first base. Limited to a single by the blunder, Granderson moved to second on a groundout. He tried to score from there on Michael Cuddyer’s single, but was thrown out at the plate by left fielder Nori Aoki.
Wilmer Flores bailed out the Mets with a two-out, two-run single up the middle later in the inning to even the score at 2. Eric Campbell delivered a tiebreaking two-out RBI single in the fourth. In the fifth, Lucas Duda snapped an 0-for-16 drought with an RBI single against Hudson that staked the Mets to a 4-2 lead.
It all came crashing down a half-inning later, though, when Harvey surrendered five runs in the sixth. Buster Posey had a two-run double, Belt followed with a two-run homer and Maxwell added a solo shot as San Francisco took a 7-4 lead.
Panik, by the way, produced the first homer allowed by Harvey on an 0-2 count during the ace’s major league career.
Welcome back: Travis d’Arnaud went 1-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and a strikeout in his first major league action since since April 19, when he fractured his right pinkie getting hit by a pitch from Miami Marlins reliever A.J. Ramos. After d’Arnaud doubled with two outs in the eighth against Sergio Romo, he scored on Juan Lagares’ triple to pull the Mets within 7-5. However, the Mets left Lagares on third base when Romo struck out Campbell.
Don’t leave us: The Mets had a bench of two backup catchers (Anthony Recker and Kevin Plawecki) and two outfielders (John Mayberry Jr. and Darrell Ceciliani). And Plawecki likely was unavailable due to dizziness. So let’s just say the Mets could ill afford to lose an infielder during the game. When Flores was struck by a pitch from Hudson -- apparently above the left elbow -- in the fourth, the shortstop eventually proceeded to first base without the usually obligatory visit from a trainer. More alarmingly, Campbell received a jolt -- seemingly to his right shoulder area -- when Brandon Crawford was thrown out attempting a triple in the sixth. This time, the staff came to check on Campbell. After a few practice throws, he remained in the game at third base.
What’s next: The Mets' Jonathon Niese (3-6, 4.43 ERA) opposes right-hander Tim Lincecum (6-3, 3.29) in Thursday’s 7:10 p.m. ET series finale. The Giants will be bidding for their first series sweep in Queens since May 7-9, 2002.