NEW YORK (AP) - Matt Harvey admitted he was tired, which made for an awfully tough day against Max Scherzer and the Detroit Tigers.
Scherzer outpitched Harvey in their All-Star rematch, striking out 11 and hitting a stunning RBI double that sent Detroit to a 3-0 victory over the New York Mets on Saturday.
Andy Dirks had three hits off Harvey, who gave up a career-high 13 over 6 2-3 innings against the Tigers' powerful lineup. He pitched out of trouble to keep the Mets in the game, but they lost for the fifth time in his last six starts.
"What we saw today is a guy who's working as hard as he can," manager Terry Collins said. "But you're seeing the effects of his first full season up here. It's a grind and he's doing the best he can."
Pitching before a crowd of 35,636 on a beautiful, 78-degree day, Harvey didn't have it early. He gave up hits to six of his first 10 batters, and the Tigers scored twice in the second inning.
"Just a poor performance," Harvey said. "I'm getting pretty tired, but so is everybody and you have to work through it."
Scherzer (19-1) joined Rube Marquard in 1912 and Roger Clemens in 2001 as the only major league pitchers to win 19 of their first 20 decisions in a season.
Once again, New York gave Harvey little offensive support.
Missing injured slugger David Wright, the Mets have managed only two runs during a three-game skid. They were outhit 15-3 by the AL Central leaders, who got aggressive against Harvey (9-5) despite the late-afternoon shadows.
"They got some pretty good swings at him," Collins said.
Harvey and Scherzer squared off on the same Citi Field mound 5 1/2 weeks ago in the All-Star game.
Scherzer started and pitched one inning for the American League, which tossed a three-hitter in a 3-0 victory- same as the Tigers on Saturday. Harvey got the ball for the NL, escaped an early jam and struck out three over two shutout innings to delight the home crowd.
The Mets said this matchup marked the third time All-Star starters had faced each other on another occasion during the same season, according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau. The first two came in the World Series: Mets ace Dwight Gooden opposed Clemens and the Boston Red Sox in 1986, and Red Ruffing of the New York Yankees faced Cincinnati's Paul Derringer in 1939.
"It's just something fun to be a part of," Scherzer said. "I always enjoy facing the best."
Scherzer, given the best offensive support in the AL at about 7 1/2 runs per nine innings, allowed three hits and four walks in six innings. He struck out seven of eight hitters during one stretch.
New York loaded the bases with one out in the sixth, but a good play by Dirks on Ike Davis' double off the base of the right-field wall held Daniel Murphy at third.
Scherzer struck out rookie Juan Lagares with a high fastball at 96 mph. John Buck popped up the next pitch, and a fired-up Scherzer pounded his glove in excitement, knowing his day was done after 118 pitches.
Jose Alvarez set down all four batters he faced, and Joaquin Benoit worked a perfect ninth for his 17th save.
Don Kelly added a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
Dirks led off the second with a double and went to third on Brayan Pena's single. One out later, Scherzer showed bunt on one pitch and then swung at the next, lashing an RBI double over shortstop in his first plate appearance of the season.
"I've got a replay and I'm sending a text to everybody right now. It was definitely 96 (mph) down and away, and I laced it for a double," Scherzer said. "I'm never going to shut up. I'm just going to keep talking trash the whole time."
A giddy Scherzer clapped his hands and cracked a smile at second base as the Detroit bench broke up in amusement.
It was Scherzer's first hit and RBI in nine at-bats since joining the Tigers in 2010, but he did bat a respectable .226 with two doubles and three RBIs for the Diamondbacks in 2009.
"Today I just couldn't throw a slider for a strike. I just couldn't throw it that well at all," Harvey said. "It's a pitch that I need, and the last couple of starts I haven't had it. You know there's work to be done about how to get that back."
Austin Jackson drove in another run with an infield single, but Harvey prevented further damage and settled down during the middle innings. He kept the Mets in it with the help of left fielder Eric Young Jr., who threw out a hobbled Omar Infante at the plate in the seventh.
The 24-year-old Harvey has a 2.27 ERA in 178 1-3 innings
"We're trying to monitor his workload," Collins said. "He battled like crazy."
NOTES: The Mets are 4 for 30 (.133) with runners in scoring position over their last four games. ... New York said the previous major league pitcher to give up at least 13 hits and two runs or less in a loss was Mets lefty Al Jackson on Aug. 23, 1962. ... The Mets recalled 1B-OF Lucas Duda and optioned OF Mike Baxter to Triple-A Las Vegas. ... New York wore orange Los Mets jerseys on Fiesta Latina Day. ... Wright (strained right hamstring) took grounders and threw on the field. ... Mets RHP Dillon Gee (9-8, 3.60 ERA) faces RHP Rick Porcello (9-7, 4.52) in the series finale Sunday.
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