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Harvey's gem ends Bisons' skid

On the first night of a backwards weekend in Coca-Cola Field, one thing remained the same: Matt Harvey looked the part of a future big-league starter.

The right-hander opened with 4 2/3 no-hit innings and posted his fifth straight win Thursday as the Buffalo Bisons beat Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 6-2, before an announced crowd of 4,510.

The Bisons snapped their three-game losing streak and avoided dropping four straight for the first time this year. They did it while playing as the road team in the first of four straight Scranton "home" games.

Harvey (5-1) retired the first 11 men he faced in the most dominant stretch of his 10 Triple-A starts. He lost the perfect game when Steve Pearce walked on a 3-ball, 1-strike pitch with two outs in the fourth.

The first hit off him didn't come until two outs in the fifth, when Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli pulled a nubber up the third-base line and Harvey could not make a play to first. Harvey gave up three more hits in the sixth, leaving after Pearce's two-run double to right cut the Bisons' lead to 4-2.

"The ball was down. I got ahead [in the count], tried to work ahead and got some groundballs early in the game," Harvey said. "I'm a little [ticked] at what happened in the sixth inning but I was definitely happy with the first five and I give a lot of credit to the defense. They made every play."

Harvey threw a season-high 103 pitches (60 strikes) and ran plenty of deep counts the last two innings. But manager Wally Backman agreed with the notion that innings 1-4 were Harvey's best of the season.

"Very good tempo, commanded the ball well in the strike zone down," Backman said. "I thought in the sixth we were pushing him a little bit. You could see the ball creeping up to the thighs [on hitters]. We tried to see if he could get himself out of his own jam. It wasn't the case but I thought he pitched a very good ballgame."

The Bisons played errorless ball, a big departure from the 12-miscue fiasco they endured the previous four games against Indianapolis.

Buffalo's bottom four hitters -- Jordany Valdespin, Lucas May, Dustin Martin and Omar Quintanilla -- finished the game with nine of the team's 12 hits, going 9 for 16 with five RBIs and scoring four runs. Quintanilla finished the game 3 for 4 with three RBIs. His two-run double in the top of the fifth opened the scoring and put Buffalo up for keeps.

The series continues tonight at 7:05 (Radio 1520 AM) with Buffalo's Jeurys Familia (4-1) meeting 6-foot-8 Dellin Betances (2-4) in a battle of top Mets-Yankees prospects.

email: mharrington@buffnews.com