Mets roll, take over sole possession of 1st

Mets roll, take over sole possession of 1st

MIAMI -- The Mets may have settled into their South Florida hotel around 4:30 a.m. ET on Monday, but their bats were wide awake come game time. Michael Conforto blasted a three-run homer, his first career shot, and Yoenis Cespedes added three doubles and four RBIs in a 12-1 rout over Miami at Marlins Park.

After sweeping the Nationals at Citi Field, including a 5-2 win on Sunday night, the Mets stayed hot in the series opener, providing Bartolo Colon, who allowed one run over eight innings, with plenty of run support on a night New York moved into sole possession of first in the National League East for the first time since June 19. The Mets win was coupled with the Nationals' 6-4 loss to the D-backs to break the tie atop the division, after several clubhouse veterans addressed the clubhouse pregame to warn against a letdown.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cespedes deal pays quick dividends for 1st-place Mets

Outfielder ties club record with three doubles in Monday's rout of Marlins

Cespedes deal pays quick dividends for 1st-place Mets

MIAMI -- When the Mets traded for Yoenis Cespedes with 13 minutes to spare at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, the hope was that, ultimately, his blend of power offense and outfield defense would buoy the Mets to first place.

It's just that few imagined it happening so fast. Cespedes' franchise record-tying three doubles paced the Mets' 15-hit attack in a 12-1 rout of the Marlins on Monday, moving the Mets into sole possession of first place for the first time since June 19.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Conforto's 1st HR sets tone for Mets' big night

Rookie hits 3-run shot to jumpstart Monday's 12-1 rout of Marlins

Conforto's 1st HR sets tone for Mets' big night

MIAMI -- Michael Conforto isn't even supposed to be here with the Mets. He watched Saturday's game from a Queens hotel room, ready to board a flight back to Las Vegas the next day. But Conforto is still here, still in the Majors, and is making the most of every last kernel of sand in his big league hourglass.

In his first game appearance since a one-day quasi-demotion to Triple-A Las Vegas, Conforto hit his first career homer -- a monstrous, three-run blast to center field that Statcast™ projected to land 435 feet away, with an exit velocity of 112 mph. The home run was Conforto's first hit since a 4-for-4 game on July 25 against the Dodgers, snapping an 0-for-12 stretch at the plate and providing the first three runs in the Mets' 12-1 rout of the Marlins on Monday.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Bernie Pleskoff

Scouting profile: Michael Conforto

Scouting profile: Michael Conforto

Background
Left-handed-hitting, right-handed-throwing Michael Conforto attended Redmond (Wash.) High School. He compiled a career batting average of .363 as a shortstop. Conforto hit .400 as a senior. He also was a highly acclaimed and valued member of the football team.

An accomplished hitter, Conforto earned recognition as a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award and the Dick Howser Trophy while attending Oregon State University. The Mets selected him in the first round of the 2014 Draft, with the 10th overall pick.

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Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Colon quells skeptics with vintage performance

Right-hander allows one run over eight innings Monday vs. Marlins

Colon quells skeptics with vintage performance

MIAMI -- They'll talk about his career-high-tying sixth hit of the season, a single up the middle in the seventh inning of a blowout, because Bartolo Colon's tricks with the bat are always fun around the water cooler. But this was a serious start for Colon. And it was his pitching that made the most significant impact.

Colon fired eight innings of one-run ball in the Mets' 12-1 rout of the Marlins on Monday, at least temporarily quieting the growing chorus of skepticism surrounding his rotation status.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

First-place Mets turn to Niese in middle game vs. Marlins

First-place Mets turn to Niese in middle game vs. Marlins

A couple of lefties square off in the second game of the three-game set at Marlins Park. The Mets' Jon Niese faces Miami for the second time this season, while the Marlins send Brad Hand to the hill in place of the recently-traded Dan Haren.

Niese (5-9, 3.63 ERA) started against Miami at Citi Field on May 30 and escaped with a no-decision despite getting roughed up. The 28-year-old allowed four earned runs on seven hits, as he lasted just four innings. He has been much better the past two months, posting a 2.94 ERA through June and July.

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Steve Wilaj is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

No shutdowns planned for Mets pitchers

Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard all nearing innings limits

No shutdowns planned for Mets pitchers

MIAMI -- The Mets have not written in ink how they will lengthen their rotation over the final two months of the season, whether it's using regular spot starters, reverting to a six-man rotation or some combination of the two. Much of that will depend upon Bartolo Colon's performance and Steven Matz's health down the stretch.

What the Mets have all but guaranteed, however, is that they will not shut down any healthy starters if they make it to October, as the Nationals did with Stephen Strasburg in 2012.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wheeler excited to still be with Mets

Right-hander recovering from Tommy John surgery visits team in Miami

Wheeler excited to still be with Mets

MIAMI -- Like so many fans throughout the New York area and beyond, Zack Wheeler sat in front of a television on the afternoon of July 31, scrolling through his Twitter feed. Wheeler had already been traded once from the Mets and watched it fall through, and had already placed a phone call to Mets general manager Sandy Alderson relating his desire to stay. All there was left to do was wait.

"I still didn't know," Wheeler said Monday, making the short drive from his rehab headquarters at Port St. Lucie, Fla. to visit teammates in Miami. "Once they said we traded for [Yoenis] Cespedes, I didn't know if I was in the trade or anything like that. I was trying to find out if I was a guy getting traded."

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Matz has 'very positive' throwing session

No timetable for left-hander's return, but Mets expect him back this season

Matz has 'very positive' throwing session

MIAMI -- Mets rookie Steven Matz took his first tangible step toward a return from the disabled list on Monday, playing catch at the team's rehab facility in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Matz had not thrown since landing on the disabled list July 10 with a partial tear of his left lat muscle.

"Very positive," was how manager Terry Collins described the throwing session. "No problems. I saw him the other day and he felt great, couldn't wait to get back out and play catch, which he did today. So that's a good step."

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Duda, Syndergaard share NL Player of Week nod

Duda, Syndergaard share NL Player of Week nod

MIAMI -- Fresh off one of the most memorable homestands in recent franchise history, a pair of Mets split National League Player of the Week honors. First baseman Lucas Duda and starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard shared the nod for pacing the Mets on both sides of the field.

The last pair of Mets to share NL Player of the Week honors were David Wright and Jose Reyes in June 2006.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Paul Hagen

NL East set up for thrilling two-team race

Mets made key moves to contend, but will Nationals' talent prevail?

NL East set up for thrilling two-team race

And the race is on.

By completing a sweep of the Nationals on Sunday night at Citi Field, the Mets moved into a virtual tie for first place in the National League East. The fan base has been energized not only by finding its team in contention going into August but also by the acquisition of a much-needed bat, Yoenis Cespedes, from the Tigers.

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Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Red-hot Duda caps Mets' three-HR inning

First baseman first Met to hit 9 blasts in 8 games; Grandy, Murphy also go deep

Red-hot Duda caps Mets' three-HR inning

NEW YORK -- It's tough remembering, especially after Sunday's triumphant, ear-splitting night at Citi Field, just how serious the silence that surrounded this place was days ago. Try, and maybe it's possible to recall Clayton Kershaw's carving of a now unrecognizable lineup July 23, when this homestand started. Or the emptiness of Thursday, when just hundreds witnessed a devastating loss to the Padres, the crowd withered down by two rain delays.

Those were the few low lights of a transformative homestand, and they were far from the mind Sunday, when Curtis Granderson sent a third-inning Jordan Zimmermann pitch soaring toward the right-field seats. They were pushed further back a pitch later, when Daniel Murphy followed with a laser into the Pepsi Porch. And they were stomped away for good after three more pitches when Lucas Duda's two-run shot punctuated New York's 5-2 series-sweeping win over Washington and earned the Mets a share of first place in the National League East.

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Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Syndergaard delivers superhero-like outing

Man they call Thor strikes out nine Nationals over eight stellar innings

Syndergaard delivers superhero-like outing

NEW YORK -- To portray Noah Syndergaard's ever-more-popular "Thor" moniker, the Mets have a graphic they like to flash on the center-field video board after important strikeouts.

In it, Syndergaard's face is superimposed onto the comic-book god's body. Lightning flashes from his hammer as an expressionless Syndergaard stares into the abyss. It's unclear whose flowing blond hair is used.

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Alden Woods is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

The tying game: Mets deliver Citi's slickest sweep

The tying game: Mets deliver Citi's slickest sweep

NEW YORK -- The Mets' first three-homer inning since 2007 sent Citi Field into possibly the biggest ruckus in its history, shooting New York into a virtual tie for first place with a 5-2 win over the Nationals on Sunday night to complete a three-game sweep. Back-to-back third-inning homers from Curtis Granderson and Daniel Murphy sparked an electric atmosphere at the Queens ballpark, where the fans have thirsted for a playoff team since its inception in 2009. The crowd of 35,374 sure felt it finally had the makings of one after Lucas Duda followed Murphy two batters later with his ninth homer in eight games -- a two-run shot that punctuated a season-defining homestand and gave winning pitcher Noah Syndergaard insurance runs to work with.

"We're excited," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We know we have 50-something [games] to go and have to play those guys six more times, but this is a huge weekend for us. In the scope of things, this was a great homestand for the way we finished it."

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

After sweep, Mets have touch of swagger

After sweep, Mets have touch of swagger

Mets fans had waited a long time for a moment like this. And so on Sunday night they did it up right. They had their ballpark rocking with emotion and craziness. They brought back the thunderous cheers that were once the norm for this franchise. At various times they simply stood and screamed, almost all 35,374 of them. At least it sounded that way. Remember when it was always like this around the Mets?

Wait. Make that the first-place Mets.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Barry M. Bloom

Mets trying to be creative to preserve young arms

Mets trying to be creative to preserve young arms

NEW YORK -- Even though studies have been done that debunk the strategy, Mets manger Terry Collins said on Sunday night that the club hierarchy intends to restrict the innings of New York's top three young starting pitchers even if the Mets make the playoffs.

The Mets are wary that too heavy a workload will cause injuries to either Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey or Jacob deGrom. The latter pair have already had Tommy John surgery.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cespedes plays center with Grandy back in right

Mets manager Collins likes the versatility he has with all his outfielders

Cespedes plays center with Grandy back in right

NEW YORK -- At this point in his career, Curtis Granderson doesn't care where in the outfield he plays. He's just making sure to check the lineup before jogging out to his habitual spot in right field.

It's no longer a given that Granderson will have a "9" penciled beside his name on every lineup card. The Mets' trades for outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Kelly Johnson have led manager Terry Collins to consider fiddling with his outfield combinations to create better day-to-day matchups.

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Alden Woods is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets recall Conforto with Nieuwenhuis hurt

Mets recall Conforto with Nieuwenhuis hurt

NEW YORK -- On Sunday, just one day after optioning him to Triple-A Las Vegas, the Mets recalled Michael Conforto and placed Kirk Nieuwenhuis on the 15-day disabled list.

Nieuwenhuis did not play in the past three games as he attempted to ease the discomfort of a pinched nerve in his neck. When a cortisone shot proved ineffective, the Mets placed him on the DL and filled his spot on the 25-man roster with Conforto.

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Alden Woods is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets hope Matz can lengthen rotation in September

Mets hope Matz can lengthen rotation in September

NEW YORK -- Though he refuses to look into his "crystal ball" to come to conclusions about his young pitchers, Mets manager Terry Collins did admit he hopes for an early September return for Steven Matz. When the Mets are confident in the health of Matz's left lat muscle, they plan to once again elongate their rotation.

On the disabled list since July 9, Matz will meet with doctors Monday to determine if he can resume throwing. If he can, Matz will start a process that New York envisions ending with him providing valuable innings down the stretch, where winning could prove as much a concern as the Mets conserving their young starters.

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Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Duda carrying Mets with red-hot power stretch

First baseman has 8 homers in past 7 games, drives in all 3 NY runs in win

Duda carrying Mets with red-hot power stretch

NEW YORK -- Lucas Duda was not the only player Terry Collins put "on notice" last week, when the Mets' acquisitions of Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe finally gave their manager depth. He was just one of many struggling Mets who stood to lose playing time, considering his .166 batting average and .549 OPS in his most recent 45 games.

But when Collins gathered those players together and gave them his ultimatum, Duda may have absorbed the message quicker and more completely than anyone else.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cespedes arrives in NY for first game with Mets

Slugger hits third in lineup and plays left field, will see some time in center

Cespedes arrives in NY for first game with Mets

NEW YORK -- Halfway through his second round of batting practice with the Mets, Yoenis Cespedes launched a home run several rows deep into the left-center-field seats -- a place where Major League Baseball players don't typically hit baseballs. Instantly, he validated the hopes of manager Terry Collins, who was sitting in the dugout at the time, laughing and joking in a grand old mood. And that was before Cespedes drew an intentional walk in the game itself, adding fuel to the Mets' go-ahead rally in a 3-2 win over the Nationals on Saturday.

Two days earlier, Collins had spoken to his mentor Jim Leyland, who knew Cespedes from Detroit and lauded his abilities. So when Collins found out Friday, mere minutes before the non-waiver Trade Deadline, that his team had acquired Cespedes, he could hardly contain his emotion.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Oh, Duda day! Mets close to within 1 game of Nats

Oh, Duda day! Mets close to within 1 game of Nats

NEW YORK -- A billboard greeted fans coming off the Grand Central Parkway on Saturday, trumpeting Yoenis Cespedes' arrival in Queens. But it was an old face, Lucas Duda, who almost single-handedly lifted the Mets to a come-from-behind 3-2 win over the Nationals, moving New York within a game of first place in the National League East.

Before the second-largest regular-season crowd in Citi Field history, Duda hit a pair of solo homers to make up a two-run deficit, then laced a go-ahead RBI double in the eighth. He now has eight home runs in his last seven games, including two off Nationals starter Joe Ross.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Flores' memorable HR caps whirlwind 3 days

Flores' memorable HR caps whirlwind 3 days

NEW YORK -- In the few private moments provided during Wilmer Flores' very public week, the infielder and trending topic tried to disappear. Tough to do with your face -- swelled with tears, pinched in pain and now already memed to death -- penciled into every sports show A block from Corona, N.Y., to California, just for falling beneath the weight of the world. But Flores did his best Wednesday night, the only way he knew how. After contacting his parents, to tell them no, he hadn't been traded, a click of the right finger shut off his phone.

"It was blowing up," he said later.

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Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wright could see game action in Minors soon

Wright could see game action in Minors soon

NEW YORK -- Mets third baseman David Wright continues to make tangible progress rehabbing from the spinal condition that has sidelined him since April. Wright will travel to Miami with the Mets on Sunday night, then drive to Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Thursday with an eye toward beginning a Minor League rehab assignment shortly thereafter.

Wright, 32, has not played since April 14 due to a hamstring injury and his subsequent spinal stenosis diagnosis. He was batting .333 in eight games prior to that.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tears to cheers: Flores hits dramatic walk-off blast

Two days after nearly being traded, crying on the field, Mets infielder the hero

Tears to cheers: Flores hits dramatic walk-off blast

NEW YORK -- Every emotion a human being is capable of feeling, teammate Michael Cuddyer said, Wilmer Flores must have felt. It was all so plain to see: There was Flores on Wednesday night, baring his soul before thousands in attendance and the millions watching every other way, tears streaming down his face because he thought he had been traded. There was Flores, undoubtedly flashing back to the day he signed at 16 years old, his eyes turning to a dugout full of teammates and friends.

Forty-eight hours later, there was Flores sweating out the non-waiver Trade Deadline -- "He had to wonder if it was his last day in the clubhouse," manager Terry Collins said -- and taking the field. His field, Citi Field. Then there was Flores hitting a walk-off home run in the 12th inning of the Mets' 2-1 win over the Nationals, somehow outshining their season-changing acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets land a slugger in Cespedes from Tigers

New York gets needed bat for pitching prospects Fulmer, Cessa

Mets land a slugger in Cespedes from Tigers

NEW YORK -- Two days after their first attempt to acquire an impact outfielder evaporated, the Mets beat Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline by a matter of minutes in a deal with the Tigers for Yoenis Cespedes.

Detroit received Minor League pitchers Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa in the trade, which puts Cespedes in the Mets' employ for the next two months. In his first year with the Tigers after a trade from the Red Sox last December, Cespedes is hitting .293 with 18 home runs and 61 RBIs in 102 games. He will be a free agent after the season, and due to the unique nature of his contract, cannot be extended a qualifying offer.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

High drama: Flores' walk-off HR downs Nats

High drama: Flores' walk-off HR downs Nats

NEW YORK -- Two days after Wilmer Flores became a national sensation for his bare emotion, openly weeping on the infield dirt because he thought he had been traded, Flores' walk-off homer lifted the Mets to a 2-1, 12-inning win over the Nationals on Friday night.

A spirited Citi Field crowd of 36,164 gave Flores standing ovations for his defensive work in the first inning and his RBI single in the fourth, then serenaded him as he rounded the bases in the 12th. The win moved the Mets within two games of the first-place Nationals in the National League East.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Harvey gaining steam with improved command

Mets righty takes shutout into eighth, has walked just one in last two starts

Harvey gaining steam with improved command

NEW YORK -- The Mets lined up their rotation after the All-Star break to make sure that their top three starters -- including Matt Harvey, who has said he relishes taking the mound in big games -- would get the opportunity to pitch in two crucial series against the Nationals, the team they are chasing in the National League East.

In front of a raucous crowd of 36,164 fans Friday night at Citi Field, Harvey delivered one of his best performances of the year. He was locked in from the start, stifling Washington's offense for 7 2/3 innings before Wilmer Flores' walk-off home run in the 12th gave New York a 2-1 victory.

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.