New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs Friday, May 17 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Updated: June 19, 2013 6:17AM
Edwin Jackson is a long-term investment for the Cubs, who signed the veteran right-hander to a four-year, $54 million contract in the offseason.
The return on that investment is coming slowly, despite another loss Friday to the New York Mets and their shining ace, Matt Harvey.
‘‘He threw a great ballgame,’’ manager Dale Sveum said of Jackson, who fell to 1-6 with the 3-2 loss at Wrigley Field. ‘‘He threw strikes and did a good job. That’s pretty much two well-pitched games in a row.’’
Jackson won the last one, an 8-2 decision against the Washington Nationals and ace Stephen Strasburg.
On Friday, Jackson threw a season-high 62/3 innings for his third quality start.
‘‘I’ve made some adjustments, mechanical things, and getting into a rhythm early,’’ Jackson said.
But as well as Jackson pitched, it was Harvey’s bat that ended up hurting him the most.
Jackson, who allowed solo home runs to David Wright in the first and Daniel Murphy in the fourth, gave up a two-out single to Harvey (5-0) in the seventh that scored Rick Ankiel from second. It was Harvey’s third hit in 19 at-bats.
‘‘It was a fastball that came back over the plate,’’ Jackson said of the pitch to Harvey, whom manager Terry Collins didn’t lift for a pinch hitter. ‘‘Once someone has a bat in their hands, they’re dangerous.’’
Harvey is more dangerous on the mound. He’s one of only five pitchers in Mets history to allow three runs or fewer in 16 consecutive starts. The last was two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana, whose streak reached 21 games. Another Cy Young winner, Dwight Gooden, holds the franchise record of 24 games.
‘‘We got two runs in the first inning, and after that it was all his,’’ said Alfonso Soriano, whose infield single drove in Starlin Castro in the first, with Anthony Rizzo also scoring on shortstop Ruben Tejada’s errant throw to first. ‘‘He has very good command with everything he throws. Credit to him.’’
The Cubs cost themselves a chance to tie the score in the eighth when third-base coach David Bell waved home Darwin Barney, who was trying to score from second on David DeJesus’ single to right with one out.
Ex-Cub Marlon Byrd, who entered the game as a pinch hitter in the seventh, easily threw out Barney.
‘‘It was the wrong decision,’’ said Bell, whose baseball family dates to grandfather Gus and father Buddy, the White Sox’ vice president of player development. ‘‘As a third-base coach, you want to make the right decision, and clearly that wasn’t.’’
Sveum, a former third-base coach, talked to Bell afterward, but the manager said the game was all about Harvey.
‘‘After the first inning, it was the Matt Harvey Show,’’ he said. ‘‘He’s obviously the real deal, a lot of poise and velocity — and then the game-winning hit.’’