The ball smashed off Jason Heyward’s black lumber onto home plate, trampolining into the humid Turner Field air. A collective gasp followed, indicating the crowd’s sense of the sequence’s possible history-changing outcome in the Mets’ 4-3 win in the matinee of a marquee doubleheader.

Over to his left raced Matt Harvey, yet to yield a hit through six innings. In from first base advanced Lucas Duda, vacating his newly-assigned position.

The ball, once it finally descended onto the infield grass, darted to the right on the first ricochet and again on the second bounce, the product of the chopper’s vicious spin.

Heyward, sprinting out of the batter’s box, was a couple feet shy of Harvey down the first-baseline when the pitcher fielded the squibbler. In a heap, Harvey decided he could not tag out the Braves outfielder, who slid headfirst away from him. He blindly delivered an underhand toss toward first base.

Daniel Murphy, the second baseman, was not in the area. Duda wasn’t either. The ball floated aimlessly through the air and to the ground as Heyward’s headfirst slide ignited a billow of chalk dust.

With that, Harvey’s third flirtation with a no-hitter this season, on a day he served as the undercard, was tarnished.

Providing the appetizer for Zack Wheeler’s long-anticipated major league debut in today's nightcap, Harvey would escape the inning without any further damage before he was finally chased with no outs in the eighth inning.

Electric as he has ever been in his career, Harvey compiled a career-high 13 strikeouts to three walks. He threw 116 pitches, five shy of the most he’s ever thrown in a major league game.