WASHINGTON — Matt Harvey played with fire and lived to tell about it Sunday night, but spent the next few hours ruing the final two runs he gave up.
“I think if I didn’t give up those last two runs we probably would have gotten out of here a couple of hours ago,” Harvey said.
He was still able to flash a smile after the game, though, thanks to his teammates pulling out a 6-5 win over the Nationals in 12 innings.
While Harvey exited the game after five innings with a 5-4 lead, Robert Gsellman allowed his first run of the year in the seventh to help send the game to extras. Still, Harvey put it on himself that it had to get to that point.
After allowing just one hit and no runs in his season debut, Harvey was not nearly as clean on Sunday. He scattered nine hits, and allowed four runs, one walk and two strikeouts over five frames. He only had one clean inning.
The fourth and fifth innings could have gone much worse, when Harvey allowed nine base runners, but he was able to escape having allowed just a single run in each frame.
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Entering the fourth with a 4-2 lead — he had given up a two-run blast to Bryce Harper in the first — Harvey allowed a two-out RBI double and then committed a fielding error and hit Adam Eaton on an 0-2 count to load the bases. But Anthony Rendon jumped on the first pitch he saw and flew out to left field, bailing out Harvey and ending the inning.
“I got a little lucky with Rendon,” Harvey said. “The wind helped. I think any other day, that’s probably sending me out of the game.”
The bottom of the fifth began with a single and a four-pitch walk before Harvey got Howie Kendrick to hit into a 6-6-3 double play. Trea Turner followed with an RBI single to cut the Washington deficit to 5-4.
But Adrian Gonzalez helped Harvey escape with a heads-up play. Next Michael A. Taylor grounded an infield single to no-man’s land in between the mound and first base. Gonzalez scooped up the grounder and threw it to third, where Turner, who had stolen second, had rounded the base and was eventually caught in a rundown.
“I wasn’t able to make that many pitches, but fortunately enough, when I really needed to, I was able to somehow get it done and limit the damage,” Harvey said. “I’m not happy about giving up any runs, but especially those last two, that’s what kept us here for way too long.”