ATLANTA — Matt Harvey is hard enough to hit after a full night's sleep. When you've had just a few hours, it's nearly impossible.
Such was the case Tuesday, when the right-hander took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and struck out a career-high 13. But the New York Mets had to survive a near bullpen implosion to defeat the Atlanta Braves, 4-3, Tuesday in the first game of a split doubleheader.
Bobby Parnell got out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth and then pitched around a one-out single in the ninth for his 10th save, as the Mets avoided a second straight disheartening loss.
Harvey (6-1) allowed three hits before departing in the eighth inning after 116 pitches, but just one left the infield. He baffled Braves hitters with his breaking ball and overmatched them with a fastball that reached triple digits.
Johan Santana's no-hitter last season against the St. Louis Cardinals was the first in Mets history, and it looked like Harvey had the stuff to throw a second against the weary Braves.
The teams took the field for the 1:10 p.m. ET game less than 12 hours after the Braves' walk-off 2-1 victory in the rain-plagued series opener. That game didn't begin until 10:53 p.m. after a three hour and 43 minute rain delay, and ended at 1:22 a.m. on Freddie Freeman's two-run homer.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez slept in his office and players were offered downtown hotel rooms if they preferred not to drive home to the suburbs. Until the eighth inning, it looked like more players should've taken advantage of the generosity.
Harvey's no-hit bid ended when Jason Heyward sent a swinging bunt down the first-base line leading off the seventh. Harvey couldn't make a tag and flipped to an uncovered first base as Heyward dove in safely.
Harvey, who had lost to St. Louis despite giving up just one run in his previous start, was pulled after he walked Gerald Laird to open the eighth, then allowed an infield hit by Dan Uggla and a line single by Andrelton Simmons to load the bases with none out.
LaTroy Hawkins gave up a two-run single to Jordan Schafer with one out and Heyward made the score 4-3 with a two-out double off Scott Rice. But Parnell came in after an intentional walk and struck out Chris Johnson with the bases loaded.
Harvey struck out six straight from the third to the fifth inning, quickly reaching double figures in strikeouts for the sixth time in his brief career. He tied his high of 12 strikeouts by fanning Reed Johnson to close the sixth.
The Braves' only base runners through six innings came on second-inning walks to Uggla and Schafer.
Rookie left-hander Alex Wood, who had made six relief appearances since being promoted from Double-A in late May, started for Atlanta and allowed a run in his third and final inning as Daniel Murphy raced home from second base on Marlon Byrd's infield hit.
Cory Rasmus, the Braves' extra pitcher for the double-header, replaced Wood and John Buck hit his third pitch deep into the left-field seats. It was Buck's 12th homer of the season, but just his third since he tied a Mets record with nine in April. His last homer had come May 24 against the Braves.
The Mets added two crucial runs on one hit in the eighth inning off David Carpenter, the fourth of five Braves pitchers. Pinch-hitter Jordan Valdespin walked with the bases loaded to force in Byrd, who had doubled, and Omar Quintanilla, who had broken a 0-for-22 streak with a single in the seventh, followed with a sacrifice fly.
Notes. Braves C/LF Evan Gattis, who leads all major-league rookies with 14 homers and 37 RBIs, was placed on the DL with a right oblique strain suffered when he tried to check his swing in the seventh inning Monday. ... INF Tyler Pastornicky was recalled by the Braves from Triple-A Gwinnett to take Gattis' roster spot. ... Mets INF Justin Turner was placed on the DL and RHP Scott Atchison activated. Turner, mired in an 8-for-50 slump, has a left intercostal strain. Atchison had been on the DL since May 14 with elbow inflammation. ... RHP Zack Wheeler, the Mets top prospect, was recalled from Las Vegas to start the night game of the split double-header. He was 4-2 with a 3.93 ERA in 13 Triple-A starts, striking out 73 in 68 innings. ... The makeup afternoon game was necessitated by a May 4 rainout.