Unbeaten Strasburg fans 10, Nationals hammer Harvey, Mets
NEW YORK (AP) A few years ago, as Stephen Strasburg was outpitched by an emerging Mets ace, fans at Citi Field memorably taunted the young Washington star by chanting "Harvey's better! Harvey's better!"
Suffice to say, no one is saying that now.
Strasburg struck out 10 to stay unbeaten, Daniel Murphy homered against his old team and Bryce Harper finally got a hit off shaky Matt Harvey as the Nationals routed New York 9-1 on Thursday night.
"It's May, there's a lot of baseball to be played," Strasburg said.
Sure, but there's no doubt which of the 27-year-old righties who's come back from Tommy John surgery is better these days.
Strasburg (7-0) gave up one run and six hits in six innings, and tied Jake Arrieta of the Cubs for the league lead in wins.
"I think Stras was awesome tonight," Murphy said.
Harvey (3-6) was tagged for a career-worst nine runs in a career-low 2 2/3 innings, and loudly booed.
"Everybody saw the game. It's pretty obvious what happened," Harvey said.
Slumping Ben Revere singled to start a seven-run burst in the third inning and capped it with a two-run triple for a 9-1 lead.
The NL East-leading Nationals handed the Mets their sixth loss in seven games.
Strasburg kept paying dividends on the $175 million, seven-year contract he recently signed. He struck out the side in the first with a fastball clocked at 98 mph, and fanned at least 10 for the fourth time this season.
Washington has won 13 in a row when Strasburg has started, dating to last year. Manager Dusty Baker let Strasburg bat in the top of the seventh he flied out and then pulled him after 113 pitches while making wholesale changes.
Murphy gave Strasburg the lead before he threw a pitch, hitting a two-run homer in the first. Murphy later doubled and tops the majors in batting at .397 in his first season since leaving the Mets as a free agent.
"Right now, some stuff seems to be falling in for me," he said. "Good fortune."
Harper flied out in the first, making him 0 for 21 lifetime against Harvey. The reigning NL MVP singled in his next at-bat, breaking that slump.
Harvey gave up six earned runs on eight hits and two walks. Harper was jeered most of the night, as often happens on the road, but said it was tough to hear the way the home fans treated Harvey.
"He comes off the mound and gets booed," Harper said.
Harvey began the walk even before manager Terry Collins reached him, and exited with a 5.77 ERA. His velocity and confidence down, the Mets have become increasingly concerned their ace has lost his way.
In early 2013, Harvey outdueled Strasburg in New York, prompting the crowd to cheer New York's new ace. They matched up again in 2015 in Washington and Harvey won that time, too.
The Mets scored on three singles in the second, including Asdrubal Cabrera's hit after Strasburg's prep time was cut short. He threw only five warmup pitches, instead of the customary eight, after grounding out to end the top half the countdown clock between innings begins at 2 minutes, 25 seconds, and he ran out of time.
It was 2-1 when an intentional walk to Murphy loaded the bases with one out in the third. Ryan Zimmerman hit a grounder in the hole that Cabrera bobbled for an error, Anthony Rendon followed with a two-run double that leaping left fielder Michael Conforto couldn't quite hold and Wilson Ramos added a two-run single.
HARPER VS. HARVEY
Harper had struck out seven times and drawn three walks while starting out hitless in 21 at-bats against Harvey. The 0 for 21 had matched the longest skid at the start of a career by an active hitter vs. an active pitcher. The other ongoing instances, from the Elias Sports Bureau: David Freese vs. Felix Hernandez, Jed Lowrie vs. Hector Santiago, Alexei Ramirez vs Edwin Jackson and Gordon Beckham vs. Wade Davis.
"I'll take any record in the book," Harper kidded.
Mets: 1B Lucas Duda was back in the lineup after sitting out two games because of a stiff back. He went 0 for 4, striking out three times.
Nationals: RHP Tanner Roark (2-3, 3.10) tries again to beat the Marlins. He's 0-3 with an 8.40 ERA against them this year going into this start at Miami.
Mets: LHP Steven Matz (5-1, 2.86) returns to the rotation to face visiting Milwaukee. He missed a turn over the weekend in Colorado because of elbow soreness.