Matt Harvey, once the Mets' ace, was wearing the silly crown awarded by his teammates to the star of the game following wins.
"I didn't think I'd wear this all year," he said with a smile.
Harvey pitched one-run ball over six innings to win his second straight start, and New York beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-2 on Sunday night.
The right-hander, hampered by injuries and off-field issues the last two seasons, scattered six hits, struck out four and walked two. Harvey (4-3) beat the San Diego Padres on Tuesday when he allowed two runs in five innings and has consecutive victories for the first time since winning his first two starts of the season.
"We've been talking about how he doesn't have to throw 97 (mph) to get people out and he showed that," New York manager Terry Collins said. "He showed command of his stuff. It's got to be a huge boost for his confidence. His last start was a good one and so was this one."
Harvey started in the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field and was the ace of the Mets' 2015 NL championship team. However, he had failed to pitch more than 5 1/3 innings in his previous five starts, in which he had a combined 21 walks in 25 1/3 innings.
"Mechanically, I felt as smooth as I have in a long time," Harvey said. "I think that's a sign that things are starting to come together. I was able to locate all my pitches."
Gregory Polanco led off the second inning with his third home run to open the scoring but that was the only run the Pirates managed off Harvey.
Rookie Tyler Glasnow (2-4) was tagged for five runs in five innings.
"You want guys on the mound with experience," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "Well, how do they get experience? Opportunities like this and the trials, tribulations and triumphs that come with it."
Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson each had three of the Mets' 14 hits, while Asdrubal Cabrera added two.
Cabrera's two-run double in the fourth inning off the top of the center-field wall put the Mets ahead 2-1. Bruce hit a two-run double in a three-run fifth.
Polanco, Josh Harrison and David Freese each had two hits for Pittsburgh.
Mets: LHP Steven Matz (left elbow irritation) pitched five perfect innings Sunday in his rehab start for Triple-A Las Vegas, striking out eight in a 73-pitch outing. . RHP Seth Lugo (partial elbow ligament tear) pitched six innings in a rehab start for Double-A Binghamton and allowed three runs and eight hits with seven strikeouts and two walks.
Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon (testicular cancer surgery) pitched three scoreless innings Sunday in first rehab start for Double-A Altoona, allowing one hit and striking out six. He returned to the mound just 20 days after his May 8 surgery.
PILL ON THE HILL?
Mets rookie right-hander Tyler Pill is tentatively scheduled to make his first major league start Tuesday night against Milwaukee in New York if he's not needed to pitch in relief Monday against the Brewers.
Pill took the loss in his major league debut Saturday, giving up the winning run in the 10th inning against the Pirates, a day after being called up from Las Vegas. He was a combined 4-1 with 1.60 ERA in nine starts with Las Vegas and Double-A Binghamton.
Mets: RHP Robert Gsellman (2-3, 6.45 ERA) is scheduled to start Monday against RHP Matt Garza (2-1, 3.60) in the opener of a four-game series. Gsellman allowed three runs in six innings against San Diego on Wednesday in a no-decision after two relief appearances.
Pirates: Open a three-game home series Monday against Arizona with RHP Trevor Williams (2-3, 5.93) facing RHP Randall Delgado (1-0, 3.82). Williams is 1-2 with a 6.27 ERA in four starts since moving into the rotation when Taillon went on the disabled list.