BALTIMORE – If Matt Harvey’s career ends sooner rather than later, his two starts against the Mets this season will likely have helped deliver the knockout blow.
Last month, the Mets trained at batting against the former Dark Knight over 4 / ₃ innings, and Wednesday night the bash session was even more condensed. The Mets hammered their only ace for seven earned runs in three innings in a 14-1 win over the Orioles at Camden Yards.
The Mets have six home runs, a season high. Kevin Pillar and Billy McKinney each went deep twice and Pete Alonso and Mason Williams also scored.
Harvey gave up two of those home runs as part of his brutal night and saw his ERA jump to 7.41. In his last six appearances, starting with that outing at Citi Field on May 12 (in which he also allowed seven earned runs), he threw at a 14.19 ERA after a strong start to the season.
“He’s still got some really good stuff,” Pillar said. “He’s got a lot of throws – we just did a really good job getting him to throw the ball in the middle of the plate. I think the guys did a good job knocking out the courts on the edge, even though they were all for hitting and didn’t care to dig deep into the counts and really try to attack the middle of the plate.
The Mets (30-24) rebounded from a horrific loss a night earlier in which David Peterson scuffled and will start a seven-game home game on Friday against the Padres and Cubs. On the road trip, which also included stops in Arizona and San Diego, they finished 5-4. The Mets lead the NL East by 3 ½ games and have reached the third of their season with a pace of 90 wins.
“It’s something that we really never talk about,” Pillar said. “I saw a statistic the other day that said we’ve been in first place for over a month. With everything that happened [with injuries] that’s not necessarily the case all the time, as long as we feel like a first-place team.
Harvey was toasted after a third inning in which the Mets sent eight batters over and scored five runs. Pillar’s three-run homer was the most important hit of the round. The blast was Pillar’s first since returning from the injured list on May 31, after breaking his nose when he was hit in the face by a throw. Pillar celebrated the homerun by raising his right arm as he rounded second.
“I’ve been really a horse for a few years now,” said Harvey. “And it’s frustrating. The amount of work I put in between the beginnings.
Jonathan Villar started the rally with a brace in the lead and Alonso’s riders with just one putt through the corners. James McCann and McKinney delivered back-to-back RBI singles to give the Mets a 4-1 lead before Pillar threw a fastball at 94 mph into the left-field seats for three runs.
Alonso smashed a two-run homer in the first inning. The explosion was Alonso’s fourth in his last three games at this stadium, dating back to last season. Ahead of the game, Alonso was asked how many home runs he would hit if he played all of his home games at Camden Yards.
“As much as anywhere else,” he says. “Because if I hit them, they’ll come out.” I don’t care if I play Yellowstone, they’ll come out.
McKinney blew up the Mets’ third homer of the night, a solo shot in the fifth against Adam Plutko, extending the lead to 8-1. Pillar and Williams hit back-to-back homers in the eighth to continue the assault. Alonso hit an RBI brace in the ninth before McKinney landed with a three-run homer. The explosion was her fourth since joining the Mets on May 26.
Taijuan Walker took a 7-1 lead in the third inning and passed through the Orioles. The right-hander’s only flaw was a first inning in which he allowed three hits – including one with McKinney’s glove to right field – including a single RBI to Ryan Mountcastle.
In seven innings, Walker allowed one earned run on five hits with nine strikeouts and one walk. The right-hander lowered his ERA to 2.07. The Mets signed a two-year, $ 20 million contract with Walker at the end of the offseason.
“He was much better than I expected,” manager Luis Rojas said. “He has done so much for us.