Mets Held to 1 Hit by Harang, Braves in 6-0 Loss
By the time David Wright got a pitch to hit, it was far too late for the New York Mets.
Aaron Harang threw no-hit ball for seven innings but was pulled after 121 pitches, and reliever Luis Avilan gave up Wright's two-out single in the eighth as the Atlanta Braves beat the Mets 6-0 Friday night.
"One thing about Harang, he doesn't miss on the plate. He may walk four or five, but all the pitches are off the plate," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
"He doesn't give in. He knows who he can and can't get out. He'll pitch around guys to get to guys that he knows he can get out. It's why he'll walk guys," he said.
The Mets had their three-game winning streak stopped. Earlier, they traded slumping first baseman Ike Davis to Pittsburgh and activated center fielder Chris Young from the disabled list.
A busy day, except for the Mets' bats. Blame that on Harang.
"He threw any pitch in any count. You name it and he threw it with confidence," Wright said.
Harang finished up last season with the Mets, then was let go by Cleveland in spring training.
Wright struck out his first two times up against his former teammate and then drew a full-count walk in the sixth, but Curtis Granderson struck out looking.
As Harang's pitch count increased on a chilly evening, it seemed doubtful manager Fredi Gonzalez would let him go the distance. Harang worked around six walks, including two in the sixth and another pair in the seventh.
Harang (3-1) left for a pinch hitter during a long, four-run eighth.
Wright spoiled the combo no-hit bid with a clean single to left field off Avilan. Jordan Walden completed the combined one-hitter.
The Mets hit few balls hard against the resurgent Harang, who lowered his ERA to an NL-best 0.70. The closest they came to a hit off the 35-year-old right-hander was actually on a check-swing tapper by Travis d'Arnaud in the second inning.
Second baseman Dan Uggla charged, snapped a throw and d'Arnaud was called out. Television replays appeared to show d'Arnaud might've been safe with an infield hit, and Collins discussed the call with first base umpire Eric Cooper. But Collins didn't challenge it because Lucas Duda, who had been on first, tried to advance to third and was easily beaten by first baseman Freddie Freeman's return throw.
"I thought I was safe, but it's the perfect reason to not challenge something because there was an out at third," d'Arnaud said. "I know that if you get it right, they give it back to you, but Terry went out, talked to the umpire and then explained the whole situation to me."
The 6-foot-7 Harang took a no-hit try into the seventh inning for the second time this year. He did it in his season debut, giving up a leadoff single in the seventh at Milwaukee. He has never pitched a no-hitter in 13 major league seasons.
Harang struck out five. He fanned pinch hitter Andrew Brown with runners at first and second with his final pitch, protecting a 1-0 lead.
Freeman hit his fifth homer, a two-run shot in the eighth.
The Braves got a run on a strange sequence that began with a double by Uggla - Justin Upton was thrown out at home on the play, but Uggla headed to third and scored when d'Arnaud threw wildly into left field. Jordan Schafer added an RBI double to right beyond the reach of Granderson.
"I told Granderson that if there's a tough right field in this league, this is it," Collins said.
Chris Johnson hit an RBI double off Jonathon Niese (0-2) in the second for a 1-0 lead.
Niese struck out seven in six innings. He gave up one run and four hits and walked three.
"Not my best today. I didn't have my best stuff and had to locate from the fourth on. Hopefully next time out I will be better," he said.
NOTES: RHP Ervin Santana (1-0, 0.64 ERA) starts for Atlanta on Saturday vs. RHP Bartolo Colon (1-2, 6.00). Colon has been having back trouble, and Collins said Daisuke Matsuzaka needed to be ready in case the problem flares up.