PHILADELPHIA - The Mets looked positioned to begin a brand-new winning streak.
They had come off Thursday's day off with consecutive victories against the Orioles. And with the undefeated Matt Harvey on the mound Friday night against the basement-dwelling Phillies, the conditions set up for a third straight victory.
Instead, Harvey suffered his first defeat, falling 3-1 to the Phillies after getting scant support.
The Phillies' Ryan Howard homered and knocked in a pair of runs against Harvey (5-1), who delivered a quality start, though he wasn't dominant.
In six innings, Harvey allowed three runs and six hits. He struck out four and walked one while pitching on an extra two days rest, which can be a challenge for some pitchers.
"It's possible that there are command issues," manager Terry Collins said of Harvey before the game. "But I just don't foresee that."
Though Harvey looked far from erratic, he lacked his typical precision. He was pulled after 86 pitches.
In his first season back from Tommy John surgery, Harvey entered the start looking to become just the ninth Mets starter to begin a season 6-0. And he seemed to have the ideal opponent in the Phillies, who he had gone 5-0 against in six career starts with a sparkling 1.60 ERA.
Trailing by two, Harvey was pulled in the sixth for pinch hitter Anthony Recker.
Recker ripped a single, but when Granderson popped up to end another scoreless inning for the Mets, Harvey could no longer qualify for the victory.
The Phillies got to him in the first when Freddy Galvis singled and later scored on Howard's infield hit against the shift. After the Mets scratched a run across in the fourth, the Phillies responded.
Howard again provided the punch when he lofted a solo shot to left-centerfield in the bottom of the inning to put the Phillies back in the driver's seat.
The Mets fell behind 3-1 in the fifth on Ben Revere's RBI single that scored Carlos Ruiz.
It might have been possible to close the two-run deficit had the Mets' offense shown some fight against Cole Hamels. But in seven innings, the Phillies lefthander struck out eight and walked two. He did not allow the Mets a run-scoring hit.
Before the game, Collins seemed optimistic that the cozy dimensions at Citizen's Bank Park might help the Mets. Instead, the Mets squandered chances to do damage.
The Mets' best opportunity at a big inning came in the fourth when longtime teammates Hamels and Ruiz looked as if they were working with each other for the first time. The batterymates appeared flustered as they attempted to navigate the inning.
It showed when Hamels threw a pair of wild pitches, including one that allowed Cuddyer to score from third but Harvey struck out to end the threat.
The Mets attempted a rally in the ninth against Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon. Daniel Murphy led off the inning with a single to right but pinch hitter Lucas Duda and rookie Kevin Plawecki struck out and Dilson Herrera flied to right.