NEW YORK -- There is a way to slow down Matt Harvey, after all: Make him wait nearly an extra two hours before he gets to throw his first pitch.
After a lengthy rain delay postponed the start of Wednesday's outing, Harvey tied a career high by allowing five runs as the New York Mets fell to the Arizona Diamondbacks, 5-3, in front of a sellout crowd at Citi Field.
Harvey allowed five runs in six innings while also surrendering nine hits, tied for the second most he's allowed. He did strike out nine as he fell to 7-2.
"You just got to block it out and try and do everything normal. I prepared for 7 o'clock, and I'm not one to make an excuse," Harvey said. "I should have been more prepared and obviously didn't do a good job of that."
Wednesday's game was delayed 1 hour, 51 minutes as rain fell in Flushing. Harvey is known for his pregame preparation, psyching himself up to unleash some fury from the very first pitch. Rain delays alter that preparation.
Mets manager Terry Collins said Harvey was standing in his doorway at 6:30 p.m. asking, "Are we starting?"
"It didn't help, I know that," Collins said of the delay. "I don't think necessarily it hurt him, but it didn't help him."
Harvey had a tough first inning, loading the bases with one out, but he escaped trouble with a double play. While Harvey managed to put up zeroes for the first five innings, Arizona made Harvey labor, forcing him into deep counts.
In the sixth, a flat slider changed the game. With the Mets ahead 2-0 with two men on and two out, Harvey left a slider over the plate for Cody Ross, and Ross crushed it to left to put Arizona ahead 3-2.
"Obviously it's a pitch I wish I could have back," Harvey said.
Arizona continued to string together solid at-bats in the seventh as a leadoff walk and back-to-back hits, the latter an RBI double by Eric Chavez, put Arizona ahead 4-2 and ultimately led to Harvey's ouster. Wednesday's start snapped a streak of 24 straight outings allowing four runs or less for Harvey.
"It was all about command tonight and he didn't have command of his stuff," Collins said. "A lot of deep counts. We've seen him pitch a lot better, that's for sure."
When asked after the game if Harvey could be experiencing fatigue, Collins said that's not the case. The All-Star Game at Citi Field on the horizon, bringing with it the possibility that Harvey could start the Midsummer Classic, but Harvey said he's not focusing on the July 16 event.
"The All-Star Game is not on my mind," Harvey said. "I have one thing to do and that's to go out and put up zeroes, and I didn't do that tonight. I'll get my 24 hours and move forward.
"Going to worry about what happened tonight overnight and reestablish what some issues were, and tomorrow start working on my next start. It's a new day already so obviously I can flush it and move forward."