In just his fourth career Major League start, rookie sensation Matt Harvey took the mound Friday night for his first career home start in Citi Field. Many of his family and friends were in attendance as he was set to give the home crowd some good first impressions. Those impressions, however, did not come about in the first inning.
Harvey began the inning by walking center fielder Michael Bourn. Left fielder Martin Prado came to the plate next and grounded out to Ronny Cedeno as Bourn advanced to second. Harvey then faced the always dangerous right fielder Jason Heyward.
Harvey laid in a fastball to Heyward as the right fielder took advantage and hit a shot to deep right center for a home run to give the Braves an early 2-0 lead. Harvey would end the first inning after throwing 33 pitches.
Harvey, though, would soon settle in for the next five innings of work. He allowed only one hit after giving up the home run to Heyward Those would be the only runs he allowed. He completed six innings of work, but his pitch count was once again high-over 100 pitches.
Just like his last start in San Diego, Harvey struggled with the long ball and walked too many batters. He walked five batters in the game.
Braves starter Paul Maholm, meanwhile, pitched a heck of a game. Atlanta picked up Maholm from the Chicago Cubs during the trade deadline and so far it is looking like a good deal. Maholm pitched a complete game on only 95 pitches. He gave up just three hits, allowed no walks and struck out five as the Mets hitters struggled once again.
The only threat the Mets had against Maholm happened when they hit two out doubles in the sixth and seventh innings by Rob Johnson and Scott Hairston respectfully. Those base runners, though, never saw home plate as the Mets were shut out for just the fifth time this season.
The Braves added to their lead in the eighth when second basemen Dan Uggla hit a two run homer to the left field stands to give the Braves a 4-0 lead. Maholm came in to finish the job for a complete game shutout as the Mets lost the series opener
New York and Atlanta will resume the series Saturday night as Johan Santana returns from the DL as he duels against right hand pitcher Kris Medlen.