New York Mets: Chad Tracy

Rapid Reaction: Mets 7, Nats 1

April, 19, 2013
WHAT IT MEANS: The Citi Field crowd said it best, chanting in the sixth inning: "Har-vey’s better! Har-vey’s better!"

That certainly was the case at least on this night, in a hyped matchup between Matt Harvey and Stephen Strasburg.

Harvey took a scoreless effort against the Washington Nationals into the seventh inning. Then, after surrendering a run, he wriggled free of a bases-loaded, no-out jam that teammate Daniel Murphy helped create.

Kathy Kmonicek/Associated Press
Matt Harvey took a scoreless effort into the seventh, then really rose to the occasion.

The final score: Mets 7, Nats 1.

The crowd, announced at a paid 26,675, included Dwight Gooden. Ike Davis and Lucas Duda each homered twice.

Harvey ultimately limited the Nats to one run on four hits and three walks while striking out seven in a 105-pitch effort spanning seven innings.

Harvey’s ERA actually rose to 0.93. He has limited opponents to 10 hits and nine walks while striking out 32 in 29 innings this season.

He became the first Met since Pedro Martinez in 2006 to earn the victory in each of his first four appearances of a season.

The tense moment came in the seventh, which Harvey entered working on a two-hit shutout.

Adam LaRoche opened the inning with a walk and Ian Desmond and Chad Tracy singled as the Nats pulled within 4-1.

Steve Lombardozzi then hit into a would-be 4-6-3 double play. But as Ruben Tejada crossed the bag, Murphy’s flip was behind him, toward the third-base side of the infield. The duo failed to connect. Instead, Washington had the bases loaded and none out, trailing by three runs.

Tejada received a visit from trainer Ray Ramirez, but remained in the game.

Kathy Kmonicek/Associated Press
Ike Davis homered twice Friday.

As Brandon Lyon warmed in the bullpen and Harvey’s pitch count approached triple-digits, the Mets’ ace stepped up.

Harvey struck out Kurt Suzuki and coaxed a foul pop-out to the catcher from Roger Bernadina, who was pinch-hitting for Strasburg. Denard Span then grounded out on Harvey’s final pitch as the Mets maintained a three-run lead.

Strasburg, who surrendered solo homers to Davis and Duda in the sixth that expanded the Mets’ lead to 4-0, matched a career high with his third straight loss. He allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits and two walks in six innings.

Davis also delivered a two-run shot in the eighth against Drew Storen. Duda again followed Davis' lead, with a solo shot that frame.

The Mets scored a pair of unearned runs in the first. Jordany Valdespin opened the half-inning by reaching on an error by Desmond at shortstop. Valdespin advanced to third on a single by Murphy and scored on a wild pitch. Murphy scored with two outs on a single by John Buck.

Harvey did not allow a hit until Strasburg’s one-out, opposite-field double in the third. The next hit came from Span on a single to open the sixth. Span was erased when the ensuing hitter, Jayson Werth, grounded into a double play.

WHAT’S NEXT: Jeremy Hefner, who served up two homers in an inning of relief Thursday at Colorado, starts for the first time since April 10. Hefner (0-2, 7.20 ERA) opposes left-hander Gio Gonzalez (1-1, 4.50) at 3:05 p.m. at Citi Field.

Series preview: Mets vs. Nationals

April, 9, 2012

US Presswire
Edwin Jackson makes his Nats debut Monday against the Mets, followed by Ross Detwiler on Tuesday and Stephen Strasburg on Wednesday.
METS (3-0, first place/NL East) vs. WASHINGTON NATIONALS (2-1, second place/NL East)

Monday: RHP Mike Pelfrey vs. RHP Edwin Jackson, 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Dillon Gee vs. LHP Ross Detwiler, 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: LHP Johan Santana (0-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (0-0, 1.29), 1:10 p.m. ET

Nationals short hops

Ross Detwiler claimed the fifth-starter’s job over fellow southpaw John Lannan, in the spot available because Chien-Ming Wang strained his left hamstring March 15. Lannan, assigned to Triple-A Syracuse, asked GM Mike Rizzo for a trade after the decision, then sent an email to beat reporters the following day acknowledging the request. After Wang suffered the injury, manager Davey Johnson had said Lannan would be the fifth starter. Lannan is due to earn $5 million this season. The Nats are only expected to trade Lannan if they get something of consequence in return, since they will need starting pitching depth during the season. Detwiler’s spring-training ERA was 3.06, to Lannan’s 5.14. The Nats did not think Lannan would be comfortable in the bullpen, so they sent him to Syracuse and instead carried Craig Stammen in a major league relief role.

• Cleanup hitter Michael Morse is expected to be activated from the disabled list as soon as Tuesday. He homered Friday, during a rehab assignment with Double-A Harrisburg, as he returns from a right lat muscle tear. After coming to New York on Saturday for preplanned treatment, Morse returned to the Eastern League club Sunday to continue a rehab assignment. Bergen Catholic product Mark DeRosa started in left field the first two games of the season, while ex-Met Xavier Nady manned the position Sunday. DeRosa was signed at winter meetings to fill the void after Chris Marrero suffered a hamstring injury in winter ball in November that will sideline him the first half of the season. DeRosa has undergone three wrist surgeries in past two years, but appears healthy now. Nady signed in mid-March after being jobless.

Rob Grabowski/US Presswire
With Drew Storen on the DL, ex-Phillie Brad Lidge picked up the save on Opening Day at Wrigley Field.

Jayson Werth is expected to play center field against left-handed pitchers, with Nady manning right field. Primarily the right fielder, Werth is due to make $13 million in 2012, in the second season of a seven-year, $126 million deal. He hit .232 with 20 homers, 58 RBIs and 19 steals in his first season with the Nats.

Roger Bernadina has started in center field the first three games against right-handers, while fellow lefty-hitting outfielder Rick Ankiel opens the season on the disabled list with quadriceps tightness. Ankiel, who originally re-signed with the Nats on a minor league deal, will earn $1.25 million this season. He has started a rehab assignment, but is not eligible to be activated until Saturday.

Chad Tracy spent last season in Japan, where he hit only .235 with one homer and 19 RBIs in 149 at-bats with Hiroshima. Tracy has been big off the bench so far. After making the Opening Day roster because of Ankiel’s quadriceps injury, Tracy already twice has delivered successful pinch hits -- including a two-run, go-ahead single in the eighth Saturday against Carlos Marmol, who was attempting a four-out save.

Stephen Strasburg started Opening Day and limited the Cubs to one run and five hits while striking out five and walking one in seven innings. Strasburg breezed through the first two innings, requiring only 14 pitches. He ultimately received a no-decision. The Nats have pledged to cap Strasburg’s innings at 160 this season after he missed most of last season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, although playoff contention would test that commitment.

Drew Storen, who recorded 43 saves last year, opened the season on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation. Brad Lidge, who signed a one-year, $1 million deal, and flame-throwing Henry Rodriguez will close in Storen’s absence. Lidge, 35, picked up the save on Opening Day at Wrigley Field -- only the ex-Phillie’s second save since Sept. 27, 2010. The Nats have an ultra-deep bullpen. Rodriguez has been clocked at 101 mph, with a 94 mph changeup. Set-up man Tyler Clippard (3-0, 1.83 ERA in 2011) earned an All-Star invitation last season.

• Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman agreed to a six-year, $100 million extension Feb. 26. The deal is on top of the combined $26 million he was due to earn between this season and 2013. The Nats have a team option for 2020.

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Daniel Murphy
.301 9 53 73
HRL. Duda 26
RBIL. Duda 76
RD. Murphy 73
OPSL. Duda .824
WB. Colon 12
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.45
SOZ. Wheeler 163