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For Mets' Matt Harvey, this win hard to swallow

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His fastball crackled and was tough to catch up with. His change-up dove and befuddled. For the first six innings of the Mets’ 7-6 victory over the Marlins on Sunday, Matt Harvey didn’t look like a man battling an illness. And he definitely didn’t look like one that considered scratching himself from the game.

But he was.

The Mets’ ace had spent two days feeling like he was coming down with something and awakened Sunday morning to find it full blown. He had trouble swallowing, had slept poorly and felt rundown. He said he believes it’s a case of strep throat.

Still, the righthander didn’t want to skip the start, especially not with the Mets rolling. He called in early to alert the club, asking the training staff to do all it could to help him, and then girded himself for the outing. Through six innings he’d limited Miami to two runs on five hits with six strikeouts and no walks.

He finished the third by striking out Giancarlo Stanton on a 97-mph fastball and then the fourth by freezing Marcell Ozuna with an 88-mph slider.

“The last thing I want to do is give up the start. It was a battle and I feel like they did a great job to trying to prepare me as best as possible for the outing and I kind of had to battle through it,” Harvey said.

In the seventh Harvey finally looked less than 100%, allowing three straight singles before getting lifted with the Mets still up 7-3. “That seventh inning out there I kind of ran out of gas and didn’t do a very good job,” he said.

Alex Torres, who came on with two out after Dee Gordon’s liner broke Jerry Blevins’ left forearm, threw a wild pitch that allowed one of the runners Harvey left on to score. So Harvey’s final line included four earned runs.

The more important line for the Mets is that Harvey is now 3-0 with a 3.50 ERA.

“When he called in at 7:30 today, there was a chance he wasn’t going to start,” Terry Collins said. “When he got here he said, ‘Listen, I don’t feel very good, I am going to pitch and go as far as I can.’… Here’s a guy that didn’t have much energy today and yet gave us six-plus innings and did pretty well.”

The pregame treatment included antibiotics and hydration. Harvey said he hopes to feel better by the next Mets game, Tuesday, and at full strength or close to it when he goes against the Yankees Saturday in the Subway Series at the Stadium.

“This was a struggle,” Harvey said. “Next time I’ll do a better job.”

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