NEW YORK — On the mound in the seventh inning for the first time this season, Matt Harvey gave up his first walk of the game and second hit, leading to a sacrifice bunt and a second-and-third jam.
"You kind of think about the worst at that point," he said. "You start getting some negative thoughts that creep in your head."
But 11 days after disappointed fans at Citi Field booed him like a villain, the Dark Knight was back.
Harvey retired Todd Frazier on a foulout and J.B. Shuck on a grounder to escape trouble, Neil Walker homered off Jose Quintana on the second pitch of the bottom half and the Mets beat Chicago 1-0 Monday to send the White Sox to their seventh straight loss.
Monday was "a big first step," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Harvey threw four pitches at 98-98.5 mph after not topping 97.5 this season.
"A lot of it had to do with timing and staying over the rubber a little bit longer, so that would kind of free up everything, free up my arm basically to get to the arm slot that I needed to," he said.
Collins said Harvey's attitude adjustment was more important. Smiles replaced scowls in recent days.
"When you're mentally strong, you don't worry about the other stuff. You fight through it," the manager said. "And that's the Matt Harvey that we always knew."