NEW YORK (AP) - Matt Harvey is pitching for October.
Knowing he is on a rough innings limit in his first season since having Tommy John surgery, the Dark Knight has adjusted his mindset some. He’s focusing less on striking out batters and more on getting quick outs.
He’s doing that by pounding the strike zone and on Tuesday night he had pinpoint control, allowing only four hits over eight innings of the New York Mets’ 4-0 victory over the Colorado Rockies.
“At this point when your innings start getting up that high, the biggest thing is throwing strikes and not putting runners on base,” he said. “I don’t mind the first pitch groundouts to shortstop or whatnot, that gets you into the later innings in games.”
Harvey (11-7) was dialed in for a fourth straight start, throwing 97 pitches, 66 for strikes. He walked none for the third straight outing and struck out four.
The right-hander allowed only three infield singles until Ben Paulsen doubled down the right field line in the seventh.
Harvey had his second consecutive scoreless outing and has allowed just three runs over his last four starts. He was lifted for pinch-hitter Curtis Granderson with the bases loaded in the eighth.
“He’s starting to get all the things we know he has - all the weapons, all the things that made him special,” Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Ruben Tejada had a go-ahead single in the sixth and Juan Lagares had a two-run double in the eighth to help the Mets improve to 40-18 at home, matching last season’s win total when they lost 41 at Citi Field.
Granderson got a gift RBI from Boone Logan for the second straight night. He was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded Monday. This time Logan walked Granderson, who did not start against Chris Rusin (3-5), a lefty.
Lagares, who has lost most of his playing time since the arrival of Yoenis Cespedes, followed with the two-run double.
Eric O’Flaherty gave up a double to Jose Reyes in the ninth, but finished the five-hitter for the NL East leader’s ninth win in 11 games and eighth straight at Citi Field against Colorado.
Rusin (3-5) put men on base in four of the first five innings but New York was hitless in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position.
“We knew it was going to be hard to score against Harvey and he was real good. Rusin did a great job,” manager Walt Weiss said.
That changed in the sixth, when Tejada, a right-handed batter, grounded an outside pitch through the hole between first and second with second baseman DJ LeMahieu shading up the middle to give the Mets the lead.
“I was looking to make good contact to right field,” Tejada said.
Michael Cuddyer singled twice, scored on Tejada’s hit and had a stolen base against the team he played for the past three years. He turned down the Rockies’ one-year offer this winter to sign with New York for two years.
“It felt good to contribute on the field rather than as a cheerleader the last couple of weeks,” said Cuddyer, who came off the disabled list Monday.
WHERE’S THE RAIN?
What started as a wet, dreary day turned into dry night - a rare bit of luck for the Rockies, who have been besieged by rain this season. They have endured over 22 hours of weather delays at Coors Field and had four games postponed. A July game against the Padres was stopped by rain - a first in San Diego since 2006 - and they waited out a 1-hour, 23-minute delay at the Dodgers.
Colorado might have preferred a rainout against Harvey.
Now that d’Arnaud is ready to handle full-time catching duties, the Mets recalled Anthony Recker from Triple-A Las Vegas after the game. Rookie Kevin Plawecki was sent down so he can get more playing time.
Rockies: RHP Chad Bettis (elbow inflammation) threw a three-inning simulated game, about 15 pitches per inning. “We’re encouraged,” Weiss said. Bettis is scheduled to make a rehab start Saturday for Double-A New Britain.
Mets: 1B Lucas Duda was out of the lineup because of a stiff back. Collins was planning on giving Duda a day off Tuesday or Wednesday with Colorado starting left-handers. “I don’t think it’s too serious,” Duda said. … David Wright (spinal stenosis) played six innings at third base and singled in three at-bats in his second rehab game for Class-A St. Lucie.
Colorado’s Jorge De La Rosa and New York’s Jacob deGrom have been on rolls since May 16, each going 7-2. But deGrom has the best ERA over that stretch at 1.56. De La Rosa’s ERA is 3.99.
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