- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 29, 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) - Matt Harvey showed the best glimpse yet of getting his game back together. Rain cost him the chance to help get the New York Mets a victory.

Harvey was much-improved from most of his starts this season while he allowed one run on four hits in the Mets’ 5-0 loss to the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night. He lasted only 3 2/3 innings because of a lengthy rain delay but displayed significant progress.

Manager Terry Collins said Harvey (4-10) was outstanding despite being the hard-luck loser.

“It would have been great for him to go a few more innings because tonight was some of the best stuff he’s had all year,” Collins said. “Tonight he had it. Tonight he had things going. His arm was working great, he just felt good on the mound.”

Harvey allowed an RBI triple to Danny Espinosa but didn’t unravel as he has in previous starts during a rough season. The right-hander said he felt much better physically and mechanically but was upset about the rain taking the ball out of his hands.

“You work so hard all year to finally figure some stuff out and then mother nature kind of takes over there,” Harvey said. “All in all, it felt much better and unfortunately I couldn’t keep that run off the board.”

Harvey continued his dominance of Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, who’s 1 for 26 against him in his career. After Harvey left the game, Harper hit his team-leading 16th home run of the season, which made him feel better about the rain delay knocking Lucas Giolito out of his major league debut.

“It got Harvey out of there,” Harper said. “He’s back to his old ways. I was happy enough to get him off and get going.”

The Mets’ offense couldn’t get anything going against Giolito, baseball’s top pitching prospect who allowed just a leadoff single to Curtis Granderson in four scoreless innings.

“He’s got a good arm,” Collins said of Giolito. “We saw him in spring training so we weren’t surprised by what we saw tonight. He’s got a good arm and a real good changeup and we’ll hope to see him again.”

The Mets lost Granderson to a calf strain that tightened up during the 85-minute rain delay, and reliever Hansel Robles took a shot off the right calf. Collins said Granderson’s removal was precautionary and said Robles would be sore but OK.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: LHP Steven Matz has a bone spur in his elbow and had his start pushed back from Wednesday to Thursday. … RHP Noah Syndergaard has a small bone spur in his elbow but isn’t expected to miss any time. … 1B Lucas Duda is two weeks away from resuming baseball activities.

UP NEXT

Mets: RHP Logan Verrett (3-4, 4.14 ERA) makes a spot start for Matz as the rest of the rotation gets pushed back. The Mets will have one fewer arm available in the bullpen as a result.

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (8-5, 3.52 ERA) makes his 17th start of the season trying to bounce back from allowing four earned runs in a loss to Milwaukee on Saturday.

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