For at least one more day, it was a Happy Harvey Day at Citi Field — even if Harvey was pitching for the other team.
The New York Mets won their seventh-straight game on Wednesday afternoon, sweeping a two-game series from the Baltimore Orioles in a 7-1 victory that came against their old friend, Matt Harvey, who spent six-plus seasons with the organization from 2012-2018.
Making his first start on the Citi Field mound since May 3, 2018, Harvey’s convoluted journey back to a regular starting role — basically re-learning how to pitch after a once-promising career was derailed by injuries — is to be commended. But the now-veteran righty was tagged for seven runs on eight hits with four strikeouts and a walk in 4.1 innings of work.
Dominic Smith had the biggest offensive day of all as he is suddenly scorching hot — going 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI to pace the Mets. He’s now 5-for-6 over his last two games as he shakes off a slow start to the season.
“I think he’s hitting more on his backside when he’s loading and separating. That’s giving him more of a chance to recognize pitches,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said. “We know his ability to drive in runs. He led the team in RBI last year so he’s going to give you quality at-bats… he just had to find himself.”
The Mets offense sparked by Smith was more than enough for starting pitcher Taijuan Walker to work with as he continues to star in the middle of New York’s rotation. After spinning a one-hit gem last week against the St. Louis Cardinals, Walker allowed just one run on four hits in seven innings of work with four strikeouts and three walks to lower his ERA to 2.20 this season.
“This year, my only focus is to go out there and help the team win ball games. That’s all I’m doing,” Walker said, who’s back for a full season after Tommy John surgery. “I’m just feeling healthy again, feeling confident, I have all my pitches, and I had a regular spring training to get ready. I’m just feeling really good right now.”
He was given an early lead when the Mets strung together four-straight hits to take a 3-0 lead in the second inning off Harvey, featuring a two-run triple by Kevin Pillar. He was driven in by Jose Peraza, who got in on the depth party by putting up one of his two RBI.
After picking up an RBI in the third on a single, Smith picked up his second of the day in the fifth inning with a double off Shawn Armstrong that scored Michael Conforto, who knocked Harvey out of the game earlier in the frame with an RBI single of his own.
Peraza capped off the three-run fifth with a run-scoring single of his own with all runs being credited to Harvey, who received three robust ovations from a Citi Field crowd eager to thank him for his time in Queens.
“Obviously, there have been so many ups and downs here at this ballpark and with this organization that I didn’t really know what to expect,” Harvey said. “And what the fans gave me out there was pretty incredible. I was holding back tears. I’m not going to lie about that.
“This is a very special place to me. I’d like to say I gave everything I had here.”
Walker cruised through six innings but was touched up for a run in the seventh when Chance Sisco’s RBI groundout scored Freddy Galvis, who led off the inning with a walk.
After Robert Gsellman got out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning, reliever Drew Smith made his first appearance of the season to shut things down for the Mets in a 1-2-3 ninth.