Matt Harvey spins a gem as Daniel Murphy, Curtis Granderson, and Travis d'Arnaud lead the New York Mets offense en route to a 4-2 victory over Chicago in the opening game of the NLCS.
If Matt Harvey had been losing the love of fans in New York before his Saturday night start, well, there is a good chance he has now won it back. Right from the start the control of his offspeed pitches looked impeccable. He carried that momentum through eight strong innings, recording nine strikeouts along the way.
Oppossing Harvey on the mound was veteran postseason star Jon Lester. After Lester allowed a first inning homerun to the red-hot Daniel Murphy, he settled himself down.
The game quickly carried into the 5th inning and Harvey had yet to allow a baserunner. He immediatley hit Anthony Rizzo to lead off the inning and Starlin Castro followed with a double just out of the reach of Juan Lagares' glove in centerfield that scored Rizzo from first base. Jorge Soler grounded out the next at bat and on a Javier Baez single Castro tested Yoenis Cespedes' arm in left field. Big mistake. Cespedes threw a gun to the plate getting Castro by multiple steps, but it still now became a brand new ballgame after Harvey had dominated for four-plus innings.
Lester didn't have a bad night himself. Entering the 5th inning he had only given up two-base hits and silently looking just as tough. Flores and Lagares hit back-to-back singles and with Harvey batting his bunt went right to Rizzo at first base where he threw out Flores at third. With two outs and runners on first and second, Granderson came to the plate and hit a soft liner that fell in front of Fowler in centerfield that scored Lagares and gave the Mets the lead once again, 2-1.
The Mets got a few insurance runs in the 6th and 7th inning. Travis d'Arnaud hit a monster solo shot off from Lester and Lagares slid in safely on Granderson's sacrafice fly, giving New York a 4-1 lead.
Harvey came out for the 8th inning and after getting two quick outs Kyle Schwarber launched a 453 ft. homerun that ended Harvey's night. As he came off the mound, Mets' fans greeted him with chants of "HAR-VEY, HAR-VEY" showing their love to the Dark Knight once again.
Jeurys Familia entered the game for the four-out save and locked it down. He surredered his first hit of the postseason in the 9th, but it didn't matter as Murphy put the cherry on top of his dazzling performance with an outstanding play at second base to end the game.
The Cubs and Mets will continue the series Sunday night as Cy Young canidate Jake Arrieta will face off against young flamethrower Noah Syndergaard.