PORT ST. LUCIE (AP) – Matt Harvey didn’t mind that it felt more like he was pitching in New York than in Florida.
Harvey gave up a leadoff homerun to Marlins prospect Christian Yelich before settling down to strike out four in 2 2-3 innings, and the New York Mets and Miami tied 8-8 on Saturday.
“It was a little cold, a little tough getting a grip on the ball, but I have to get used to it,” Harvey said on a day when temperatures hovered in the upper 50s and low 60s. “I did a lot of good things, did a lot of bad things. Still have some work to do, but other than that, everything feels good.”
Harvey, who said he grew up pitching in snow in Connecticut, allowed one run, three hits and walked one. He immediately settled in after Yelich’s home run, retiring five in a row – including three strikeouts.
“Obviously, the competitive edge doesn’t want to give up any hits or runs or anything like that, but at the same time it’s throwing some pitches I wouldn’t throw in certain counts and I think in the third inning I kind of backed up some changeups there,” Harvey said.
Marlins starter Alex Sanabia, who is competing to be the team’s No. 5 starter, pitched two scoreless innings. He allowed just one base runner – Marlon Byrd, who reached on an error, and threw one wild pitch.
“It was good to go out there and get a few more innings in,” Sanabia said. “Pretty much, it’s just go out there and perform and get outs. That’s pretty much my main purpose is to throw strikes and get outs.”
While the first batter Harvey faced homered, Sanabia was bailed out when center fielder Jake Marisnick made a nice catch to rob Mets leadoff hitter Collin Cowgill of a would-be extra base hit.
“That was awesome,” Sanabia said. “I thought that ball was over his head or maybe out because (Cowgill) squared that ball up. But him catching that, instead of a guy being on second or third, it’s one out, bases empty. It was definitely a huge play.”
Yelich continued his hot start, going 2 for 2 with two RBIs, two runs scored and two walks. He’s hitting .462 (6 of 13) in seven games. First baseman Joe Mahoney hit two home runs and had four RBIs for the Marlins.
Mets right fielder Lucas Duda homered and had two hits, one day after being scratched from the lineup for an undisclosed medial issue.
Duda, who had offseason wrist surgery and was 1 for 10 coming into the game, downplayed Saturday’s success.
“There’s no difference,” Duda said. “I just think seeing more live pitching is a big factor. … Just like when I went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts and today 2 for 3 it’s just one day. Just keep working hard throughout the spring and get better.”
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