Minneapolis, MN – Matt Harvey tossed eight strong innings of two-hit ball and Marlon Byrd hit a solo homer during a four-run fifth inning, as the New York Mets downed the slumping Minnesota Twins, 4-2, Saturday in the middle test of a three-game interleague set.
Harvey (3-0) didn't allow a hit until the seventh inning en route to giving up one run, striking out six and walking two for the Mets, who have won two straight and five of their last seven.
The 24-year-old righty threw 107 pitches and had five 1-2-3 innings. He has allowed just two earned runs and six hits over 22 innings through his first three starts this season.
"After the sixth inning, I sat down in the dugout and I realized it was a possibility," Harvey said of the possibility for a no-hitter. "But I knew the seventh was going to be toughest inning for me."
Daniel Murphy had two hits and an RBI, David Wright supplied one hit and drove in a run and Justin Turner went 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored in the victory.
Justin Morneau hit a solo home run in the seventh to give the Twins their first hit and run. Minnesota, which has dropped five straight, saw starter Scott Diamond (0-1) give up four runs on eight hits over 4 1/3 innings in his first start of the year after recovering from elbow surgery.
Harvey had failed to give up a hit through six-plus innings, until the seventh. After the righty retired the first two batters of the frame, Morneau launched his 2-2 offering down the right-field line and the ball plunked off the foul pole to give the Twins their first hit and make it 4-1.
Mets reliever Bobby Parnell gave up one run in the ninth, a double from Josh Wilingham that scored Joe Mauer, but picked up the team's first save of the year by retiring the next two batters.
"Our mentality was to attack early," Twins second baseman Brian Dozier said. "I knew from facing him in the Minor Leagues he comes at you with his fastball, but he had all three pitches working today."
Diamond pitched well through the first four innings, though he ran into some trouble in the fifth. Byrd smacked a solo shot to left to make it 1-0. Turner hit a single up the middle and Ruben Tejada moved him to third with a double to left. Collin Cowgill hit a swinging bunt to third and Minnesota's Trevor Plouffe bobbled the exchange allowing Turner to score and make it 2-0.
Murphy lined a single to center for the fifth straight hit of the inning which plated Tejeda and made it 3-0. It was the last batter Diamond faced.
Josh Roenicke relieved Diamond and Wright took advantage. Wright hit a line drive off of Roenicke's foot and the ball corralled to third base, but Wright reached easily and Cowgill scored to make it 4-0.
"You saw in the first couple innings he had no-hit stuff," Byrd said. "In the outfield you're just hoping anything that comes out there, you're going to go get."
Harvey is 5-3 in eight career road starts ... Minnesota activated Diamond off the disabled list on Saturday and made room on the roster by optioning pitcher Liam Hendriks to Triple-A Rochester ... The Mets have homered in each of their 11 games this season ... Harvey became the first Mets pitcher since Mike Pelfrey (2010) to win his first three starts of the season ... New York catcher John Buck had homered in four straight games, but finished 0-for-4 ... Buck had also totaled 19 RBI through the first 11 games of the season becoming only the fourth player in 92 years with such a total. Chris Davis (2012), Lou Gehrig (1927) and Manny Ramirez (1999) also drove in 19 runs through the first 10 games of the season.