A lack of run support led to young ace Matt Harvey losing his first game of the season for the New York Mets, a scenario Shaun Marcum knows all too well.
Marcum hopes to pick up his first victory of the season on Friday night as the Mets begin a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs.
The right-hander is 0-7 with a 4.96 earned run average in nine outings this season, including seven starts. He made his second relief appearance of the campaign on Saturday and put forth a gutsy effort that should have yielded a win. Instead, Marcum was the losing pitcher in a 2-1 setback as he gave up the winning run on a two-out single in the 20th inning.
Marcum hurled a season-high eight innings of relief, and was the seventh Mets pitcher used after Harvey allowed one run over seven innings in the start. Marcum ended with a game-high 105 pitches and gave up three of his five hits allowed in the 20th frame.
"He was unbelievable, he gave us everything he had," said Mets manager Terry Collins.
While the 31-year-old is still winless in 2013, he has never before lost to the Cubs. Marcum owns a 4-0 lifetime mark against the club with a 2.90 ERA in five starts.
Harvey's no-decision last weekend kept his perfect record intact, but he finally fell from the ranks of the unbeaten with Thursday's 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Harvey allowed just one run over seven innings before falling to 5-1 and having his franchise-record streak of 13 unbeaten starts to begin the season halted.
"If I had just gotten seven zeroes, we're still in this game," Harvey said. "You really have to be locked in through this lineup."
Marlon Byrd's ninth-inning solo homer was all the offense for the Mets, who have lost eight of their past 10.
The Cubs, meanwhile, are coming off just their third victory in 11 games as they outlasted the Cincinnati Reds 6-5 in 14 innings. Pinch-hitter Julio Borbon came through with a two-out single that plated the winning run.
"I was looking for a pitch to drive," Borbon said. "I've been definitely working on some things and was looking for that pitch definitely middle away, to be able to stay on it and I got it and was ready for it."
Darwin Barney came through with a game-tying hit in the eighth inning and David DeJesus had a solo homer for the Cubs, who look for Edwin Jackson to pick up a second straight winning start tonight.
Jackson snapped a three-start slide with his best outing of the season on Sunday versus the Pittsburgh Pirates, lasting a season-high seven innings while giving up just one run on four hits and a walk. The righty also struck out eight in the 4-1 win to pick up his first home victory of the season.
"I told myself, 'just come out and have fun. Stay relaxed, stay loose and just play the game.' Sometimes we take the game too serious and you're kind of confined in a bubble. Today I was able to come out of that bubble," said Jackson, who improved to 2-8 with a 5.76 ERA in 12 starts this season.
The 29-year-old is 1-2 with a 4.40 ERA in five career outings versus the Mets, including a loss at home on May 17. Jackson allowed three runs over 6 2/3 frames of a 3-2 loss, yielding solo homers to David Wright and Daniel Murphy as well as a run-scoring single to Harvey in the seventh inning that snapped a tie game.
The Mets won two of three in Chicago from May 17-19.