PHILADELPHIA — Matt Harvey threw seven impressive innings, John Buck hit a three-run homer and the New York Mets roughed up Roy Halladay in a 7-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday night.
Harvey (2-0) followed up a dominant first start with another sharp outing. He gave up one run, three hits and struck out nine. The 24-year-old righty allowed one hit and fanned 10 in seven scoreless innings against San Diego last Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Halladay (0-2) barely resembles the two-time Cy Young Award winner who had 40 wins and tossed a perfect game and postseason no-hitter in his first two years with the Phillies in 2010-11.
Halladay allowed seven runs and six hits in four-plus innings. He’s given up 12 runs in 7 1-3 innings in two starts after a tough spring. Halladay is coming off a down year in which he missed two months with shoulder and back problems, raising concerns about his health.
While Halladay is trending downward, Harvey is clearly on the rise. A 2010 first-round pick, Harvey blew away hitters with a mid-90s fastball that reached 98 mph a few times.
Halladay tossed a perfect first inning before his troubles began. Marlon Byrd ripped a one-out double to straightaway center in the second and Halladay hit Lucas Duda with a pitch. Buck followed with an opposite-field drive way out to right-center.
Buck has three homers and 12 RBIs in the first seven games, helping the Mets to a 5-2 start. New York has hit at least one homer in every game, its longest streak to start a season since eight in a row in 1987.
Duda lined an RBI single with two outs in the third to give the Mets a 4-0 lead. They chased Halladay with three straight hits in the fifth. Daniel Murphy started with a double, David Wright followed with an RBI single and Ike Davis singled to end Halladay’s night.
Braves 2, Marlins 0
MIAMI — Justin Upton went 4 for 4, including his sixth home run, and Paul Maholm allowed one hit in seven sharp innings to help the Atlanta Braves spoil the Miami Marlins’ home opener.
The Braves earned their fourth consecutive victory and improved to 6-1, their best start since 2007. The Marlins lost their third game in a row and fell to 1-6, their worst start since 2006.
Announced attendance was 34,439, with thousands of empty seats and many tickets sold at discounted prices. Some fans pledged to stay away this season because they’re angry that owner Jeffrey Loria reverted to a frugal payroll only a year after the team opened a new ballpark built mostly with taxpayer money.
Reds 13, Cardinals 4
ST. LOUIS — Brandon Phillips kick-started a nine-run ninth inning with a tiebreaking bloop double and Shin-Soo Choo made amends for two botched fly balls with a three-run double, and the Cincinnati Reds spoiled the St. Louis Cardinals’ home opener.
Mitchell Boggs (0-1), the stand-in closer for St. Louis, yielded six runs while getting only one out and the Cardinals needed four more pitchers to get out of the inning. Only a few thousand fans remained of the largest regular-season crowd of 47,375 for the bottom of the ninth in 8-year-old Busch Stadium history.
The defending NL Central champions Cardinals held a tribute for Stan Musial before the game.
Brewers 7, Cubs 4
CHICAGO — Marco Estrada pitched seven effective innings and doubled home a run, helping the Milwaukee Brewers stop a five-game slide with a 7-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs in the first game of the season at Wrigley Field.
With a strong wind blowing out at the start of the game — a rare sight for an April date at the iconic neighborhood ballpark — Estrada allowed two runs and five hits while bouncing back from a lackluster season debut against Colorado. The right-hander also drove in Alex Gonzalez with a drive into the gap in right-center during Milwaukee’s two-run seventh.
Norichika Aoki collected three more hits and Ryan Braun had a successful return to the lineup as the Brewers won for the first time since opening day.
Welington Castillo belted a two-run homer for Chicago, which has dropped four in a row and five of six. Edwin Jackson was hit hard in his first home game since he signed a $52 million, four-year contract over the winter, surrendering five runs and eight hits in six innings.
The Cubs rallied for two runs in the ninth and had the bases loaded when Dave Sappelt struck out and Starlin Castro flew out to the warning track in right to end the game.
Yankees 11, Indians 6
CLEVELAND — Travis Hafner came home and helped the Yankees wreck Cleveland’s opener.
Hafner drove in four runs in his return to Cleveland and Robinson Cano homered twice as injury-riddled New York ruined the Indians’ highly anticipated first home game under manager Terry Francona.
Hafner hit a three-run homer in the first inning off Ubaldo Jimenez (0-1) and added an RBI single in the third. Cano connected in the fifth and sixth for the Yankees, who are trying to hold on until All-Stars Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira get healthy and come off the disabled list.
Hiroki Kuroda (1-1) shook off a shaky, 34-pitch first and showed no signs of being bothered by a bruised right middle finger as the Yankees finally won a home opener after losing their own and Detroit’s last week.
Mike Aviles hit a two-run homer in the eighth for Cleveland.
It was a sweet homecoming for Hafner, who spent 10 seasons with the Indians before signing a one-year free agent contract in February with New York. He set the tone for the Yankees with his first swing, sending a shot over the fence that seemed to deflate Cleveland’s sellout crowd that had been counting down the days until Francona and the Indians came home.
Red Sox 3, Orioles 1
BOSTON — Daniel Nava hit a three-run homer, Clay Buchholz pitched seven shutout innings and the surprising Boston Red Sox won their ninth straight home opener.
Nava broke open a scoreless duel between Buchholz (2-0) and Wei-Yin Chen (0-1) in the seventh inning with his second homer in two days. He hit a shot over the Green Monster in left after Dustin Pedroia singled and took third on a double by Mike Napoli.
The Red Sox are off to a strong start at 5-2 under new manager John Farrell. They finished last in the AL East last season with a 69-93 record under Bobby Valentine, who was fired after one season.
Buchholz gave up three hits and three walks and struck out eight. Last Wednesday he allowed one run in seven innings in a 7-4 win over the New York Yankees.
Andrew Bailey blanked the Orioles in the eighth before Joel Hanrahan allowed a solo homer by Adam Jones, his first, in the ninth, but got his third save.
Royals 3, Twins 1
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ervin Santana pitched eight strong innings, Alcides Escobar doubled home the go-ahead run and the Kansas City Royals rallied to beat the Minnesota Twins in their home opener.
Santana (1-1), acquired from the Los Angeles Angels on Oct. 31 for minor league left-hander Brandon Sisk, gave up a run and eight singles. He struck out seven, walked one and hit a batter. Santana allowed only four hits after the first inning, when the Twins scored their lone run.
Twins right-hander Kevin Correia (0-1) limited the Royals to five singles and no runs the first seven innings before Lorenzo Cain doubled to right-center to lead off the three-run eighth. After Chris Getz’s sacrifice bunt moved Cain to third, Alex Gordon singled him home to tie the score.
Escobar’s double scored Gordon and knocked Correia out of the game. Jared Burton replaced Correia and gave up a run-scoring single to Billy Butler, who tied a club record with seven RBIs Sunday at Philadelphia.
Aaron Crow worked the ninth to earn his first save of the season and only the third of his career — two coming against the Twins. His previous save came July 21 against Minnesota. The Royals, who have come from behind to win three straight games, have three saves from three different pitchers this season.