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Harvey pitches 2 perfect innings, strikes out 3 in long-awaited return as Mets beat Tigers 5-4

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PORT ST. LUCIE, Florida — Matt Harvey was back on the mound, pumping fastballs by opposing batters for the first time in more than 18 months. His first outing following elbow surgery could not have been much more impressive.

Harvey struck out three in two perfect innings, reaching 99 mph Friday in the New York Mets' 5-4 win over the Detroit Tigers — the team he faced in his last outing.

"I felt like I never left," he said. "I could tell the ball was coming out good. I think, like I said last time, I let a few go. For the most part, I was really trying to stay loose and hit my spots and felt pretty confident."

Harvey, who started for the NL in the 2013 All-Star game, was diagnosed with a torn elbow ligament after losing to the Tigers and Max Scherzer on Aug. 24, 2013. He was 9-5 with a 2.27 ERA at the time, and the injury was a crushing blow to the right-hander and the Mets.

He had elbow ligament-replacement surgery that Oct. 22 and spent all of 2014 rehabilitating. He threw 16 of 25 pitches for strikes.

"The big thing was I was happy with throwing strikes and not walking anybody. Those are the things you try to work on," he said. "That was the big thing I was focusing on today, and I was pretty happy about it."

Harvey got a slight raise for this season, agreeing Thursday to a contract that pays $614,125 in the major leagues and $327,975 in the minors, in the unlikely event he were to be sent down. Harvey had a $546,625 salary while on the major league disabled list last year and earned $60,000 in 2014 bonuses for 2013 accomplishments: making the All-Star team and finishing tied for fourth in NL Cy Young Award voting.

Curtis Granderson was 1 for 2 with a RBI, and Detroit's Jose Iglesias was 1 for 2 with a stolen base and run scored before leaving with a bruised shin. Matt Reynolds hit a game-ending homer in the ninth off Joe Mantiply.

STARTING TIME

Tigers starter David Price threw two hitless, scoreless innings. He struck out, walked one and hitDaniel Murphy on the right hand with a two-seam fastball.

PHOTO: New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey throws during the first inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Detroit Tigers Friday, March 6, 2015, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey throws during the first inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Detroit Tigers Friday, March 6, 2015, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Price, who three 17 of 31 pitches for strikes, said he's working on a new grip for his curveball this season. The grip was taught to him by Oakland's Sonny Gray this offseason when the two worked out at Vanderbilt University.

Price threw the curveball once, striking out Granderson in the first inning.

"I'm getting comfortable with this curveball," said Price, who received a text from Gray during the game. "I feel like I can kind of change speeds on it. I haven't thrown it much - probably three times off the mound in three different sessions. It's getting there. It feels good."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Murphy was taken for X-rays on his hand. Mets manager Terry Collins said the training staff felt it was just a bruise but added that he was concerned. ... Iglesias, who missed all of last season with stress fractures in his shins, said he was fine and expected to be able to practice Saturday. ... Mets 1B Lucas Duda (left intercostal strain) took 45 swings in the batting cage Friday and could get into a game in a week.

SCOREBOARD MALFUNCTION

Harvey's first pitch was clocked at 96 miles per hour on the scoreboard at Tradition Field. The second pitch, according to the scoreboard, was 104. After that pitch, the scoreboard stopped showing pitch speeds. Harvey said he never looked to see how hard he was throwing.

RAISE FOR DEGROM

Jacob deGrom received a raise to $531,875 in the majors and $233,747 in the minors, and gets a $25,000 bonus for winning last year's NL Rookie of the Year Award. He earned $389,579 last year, when he came up to the Mets in mid-May.

TRIBUTE

The Mets are hosting the families of slain New York City Police Department officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu this weekend. Ramos' sons — Justin, 19, and Jayden, 13 — are serving as Mets bat boys and were given lockers in the team's clubhouse. Jayden was in the clubhouse Friday morning and met a handful of players, including Harvey.

Ramos and Liu were shot and killed in their patrol car on Dec. 20 in Brooklyn. The Mets learned through police officials that Ramos' sons were Mets fans and arranged a phone call with captain David Wright on Christmas Eve. Wright's father, Rhon, is a retired assistant chief of the police department in Norfolk, Virginia.

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Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey heads out to the mound to start an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Detroit Tigers Friday, March 6, 2015, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. The game was the first for Harvey in 18 months after it was discovered he had a tear in an elbow ligament in 2013 resulting in the need for surgery. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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