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Harvey, Mets Top NL Central-Leading Cincinnati Reds 8-4

Rookie right-hander Matt Harvey took a perfect game into the fifth inning and drove in two runs to lead the New York Mets to an 8-4 victory over the National League Central-leading Cincinnati Reds in a Major League Baseball contest.

Harvey (2-3), who threw 63 strikes in 89 pitches last night, allowed one run on four hits and struck out eight in 7 2/3 innings. His 34 strikeouts over five major league games since his debut July 26 rank second in Mets’ history behind Dwight Gooden’s 36. Jon Rauch got his third save, striking out one in 1/3 inning.

“I knew it was going to be a tough lineup,” Harvey told reporters. “I just wanted to go out and not so much worry about who I was facing, as much as where the call was, where the pitch was supposed to go and try and execute as best I could.”

Harvey, 23, followed Ike Davis’s solo home run with a two-run double in the fourth inning to give the Mets a 3-0 lead. Jason Bay kicked off a three-run sixth inning with a home run at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

Davis hit a run-scoring double and then scored on an error by shortstop Zack Cozart as the Mets took an 8-1 advantage in the top of the ninth.

Jay Bruce hit a run-scoring double for the Reds in the seventh, while Ryan Ludwick blasted a home run in the ninth followed by Miguel Cairo’s run-scoring single and Cozart’s double that sent home Todd Frazier.

Homer Bailey (10-8) gave up six runs on eight hits and struck out six in 5 2/3 innings for the Reds (71-47).

“Physically I feel great,” Bailey told reporters. “I have no excuses. I’m just not making pitches as consistently as I need to.”

The Mets (56-62) are in third place, 17 games behind the Washington Nationals in the five-team NL East.

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