BRAVES 6, METS 0
By BEN WALKER
NEW YORK — Aaron Harang threw no-hit ball for seven innings but was pulled after 121 pitches, and reliever Luis Avilan gave up David Wright’s two-out single in the eighth as the Atlanta Braves beat the New York Mets 6-0 Friday night.
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 inning and another pair in the seventh.
Harang (3-1) left for a pinch hitter during a long, four-run eighth. He was never in the on-deck circle – the decision had already been made that he was done.
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 manager Terry 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.
Wright spoiled the combo no-hit bid with a clean single to left field.
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.
Harang finished up last season with the Mets, then was let go by Cleveland in spring training.
He kept up the Braves’ recent run of stellar pitching. Julio Teheran beat Philadelphia 1-0 on Wednesday and Alex Wood lost to the Phillies 1-0 Thursday.
The Mets had their three-game winning streak snapped. Before the game, they traded slumping first baseman Ike Davis to Pittsburgh and activated outfielder Chris Young from the disabled list.
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 beyond the reach of right fielder Curtis Granderson.
Chris Johnson hit an RBI double off Jonathon Niese (0-2) in the second for a 1-0 lead.
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. ... Braves RF Jason Heyward didn’t start. The last time he faced Niese, Heyward got his jaw broken by a pitch in August. Gonzalez said that didn’t factor into his decision to rest Heyward. The Braves were scheduled to play 16 straight days, and Gonzalez said it was a good time to give Heyward a break. ... Kent Mercker pitched the Braves’ last no-hitter in 1994.