CINCINNATI -- Rookie right-hander Matt Harvey (2-3) used his arm and his bat to end a personal three-game losing streak and enable the Mets to get out of town with an 8-4 win against the Reds. Harvey retired the first 12 batters he faced en route to pitching 7 2/3 innings of four-hit, one-run ball. He also added a two-run double as part of a three-run fourth inning as the Mets won for just the fourth time in their past 12 games.
WHAT IT MEANS: Harvey, the 2010 first-round pick, had pitched pretty well in his first four starts but had received just six runs of support in those games. He responded Thursday with his best game yet, on the mound and in the batter’s box.
He hadn’t pitched past the sixth inning previously but was efficient throughout the game, throwing 63 strikes among his 89 pitches. He struck out eight and walked just one batter.
Harvey had walked 12 in 22 1/3 innings coming into Thursday but the only other sign of wildness against the Reds was when he hit Ryan Ludwick leading off the fifth inning. The first hit the Reds got was an infield single by Scott Rolen with two outs in the fifth.
LINEUP WAKES UP: The offense responded to Terry Collins’ lineup shake-up by banging out eight hits against Cincinnati starter Homer Bailey (10-8), including solo home runs by Ike Davis and Jason Bay. Davis drove in another run with a double to center field in the ninth inning, while Bay, who came into the game hitting just .150, added a single in his four at-bats.
Davis’ 421-foot home run leading off the fourth inning gave the Mets their first lead of the series. After Scott Hairston and Justin Turner were retired, Bay singled and went to second on a throwing error by Brandon Phillips at second base. Kelly Shoppach was walked intentionally to bring up Harvey.
He drove his second double of the season to deep center field to bring in the first two RBIs of his young career.
PEN PICKS UP FRANKIE: Bobby Parnell did a nice job to strike out Phillips to end a Cincinnati threat in the eighth inning. Jon Rauch got his third save of the season with a three-pitch strikeout of Wilson Valdez to clean up a mess made by Frank Francisco in the ninth. The Reds scored three times off of Francisco and had runners on second and third before Rauch ended the drama.
UP NEXT: The Mets travel to Washington for the final three games of this six-game road trip against NL division leaders. The Nationals have the best record in the NL (73-45) and are coming off an off-day on Thursday. Johan Santana (6-8, 4.58) gets the start against left-hander Ross Detwiler (6-5, 3.18) in a 7:05 p.m. scheduled first pitch.