NEW YORK -- In 1,347 starts for the Atlanta Braves, the trio of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz combined to carry a no-hitter into the seventh inning a grand total of three times.
Aaron Harang has now done it twice in four starts.
Harang's unlikely career revival continued Friday night, when the right-hander threw seven no-hit innings before Luis Avilan surrendered the New York Mets' only hit of the night in the eighth inning of a 6-0 win at Citi Field.
Harang will be the first to admit nobody will ever confuse him with impending Hall of Famers Maddux and Glavine nor likely future Cooperstown inductee Smoltz, which is what makes his early-season performance for the Braves all the more impressive.
"God, you've got two guys who are going to the Hall of Fame this year -- I grew up watching (them), I was fortunate enough to get to face and play against (them)," Harang said.
Harang, who was unsigned until Cleveland inked him to a minor league deal on Feb. 15, joined the Braves on March 24 -- the same day he requested his release from the Indians after being told he wouldn't make the team -- and was expected to help replace Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen, each of whom underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery in March.
After his subpar 2013 -- Harang went 5-12 with a 5.40 ERA in 26 starts between the Mariners and Mets -- it appeared as if Harang, who turns 36 in May, was only holding down a spot until Gavin Floyd (Tommy John surgery) and Mike Minor (left shoulder) could complete their rehab assignments.
But Harang has suddenly emerged as an indispensible member of the rotation. He improved to 3-1 on Friday, when he lowered his ERA to 0.70. He has allowed just nine hits in 25 2/3 innings.
He has also twice flirted with throwing the Braves' first no-hitter in 20 years. In his first start of the season April 2, Harang tossed six no-hit innings against Milwaukee before allowing a pair of seventh-inning hits.
And on Friday, he went where Glavine never went -- and Maddux and Smoltz only went once apiece -- by completing seven no-hit innings. It wasn't the most dominant no-hitter flirtation ever -- Harang was lifted after walking six and throwing 121 pitches -- but manager Fredi Gonzalez said the promise of more starts from Harang was more than enough to convince him to pull the right-hander two innings shy of history.
"I'm pulling for him, I want to see him throw a no-hitter," Gonzalez said. "But I think it got to a point where it's like, man, you've got to worry about 25 more starts."
And 25 more chances to outdo Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz.
STREAK: Won one
NEXT: Braves (RHP Ervin Santana, 1-0, 0.64 ERA) at Mets (RHP Bartolo Colon, 1-2, 6.00 ERA)
--RHP Ervin Santana will look to continue his hot start to the season Saturday night, when he takes the mound for the Braves in the middle game of a three-game series against the Mets at Citi Field. Santana is 1-0 with an 0.64 ERA in two starts. He has struck out 17 and walked just two in 14 innings. He will be making his second career start and second start of the season against the Mets, whom he beat in his Atlanta debut on April 9 by throwing eight shutout innings of three-hit ball in the Braves' 4-3 win.
--RHP Aaron Harang flirted with history Friday night, when he threw seven no-hit innings in the Braves' 6-0 win over the Mets. Harang walked six and struck out five and was lifted after 121 pitches, including 23 in the seventh inning alone. The Braves' pursuit of their first no-hitter ended when LHP Luis Avilan allowed a two-out single to David Wright in the eighth. The near no-hitter was the second of the season for Harang, who threw six no-hit innings against Milwaukee on April 2 before he allowed a pair of seventh-inning hits. Harang improved to 3-1 on Friday while lowering his ERA to 0.70.
--RF Jason Heyward got the night off Friday, when the Braves beat the Mets 6-0. Heyward was the leadoff hitter in each of the Braves' first 15 games, but he is hitting just .136 in 59 at-bats and has two hits in his last 27 at-bats.
--RHP Gavin Floyd struggled in a rehab start for Double-A Mississippi on Friday night, when he allowed four runs on five hits and one walk while striking out six over 4 2/3 innings. It was the fourth rehab start for Floyd but his first below Triple-A Gwinnett. He is coming back from the Tommy John surgery he underwent last May.
--LHP Mike Minor had his scheduled rehab start for Triple-A Gwinnett rained out Friday, when the game at Charlotte was postponed. It is not yet known if Minor will start one of the two games in Saturday's scheduled doubleheader. Minor, who came down with a sore left shoulder during spring training, is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA and 13 strikeouts over 9 1/3 innings in three rehab appearances (two starts) spread out over three levels.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "To be so close to being (part of) a combined no-hitter, that's something special. I'll take it all in and appreciate it tonight and tomorrow I'll be getting ready for the next start." -- RHP Aaron Harang, who flirted with history in Friday night's win over the Mets.
--LHP Mike Minor (left shoulder soreness) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21. He made rehab appearances April 3 with Double-A Mississippi, April 8 with Triple-A Gwinnett and April 13 with Class A Rome. His scheduled rehab start with Triple-A Gwinnett on April 18 was rained out. He may start one of the two games in April 18's doubleheader. The Braves will know more on Minor's status after the lefty's outing and he could return to Atlanta's rotation by April 23-25.
--RHP Gavin Floyd (Tommy John surgery in May 2013) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21. He pitched April 3, April 8 and April 13 for Triple-A Gwinnett on a rehab assignment. He made a rehab start with Double-A Mississippi on April 18. Floyd is penciled in for one more rehab outing after April 18. The right-hander could return by April 28. "I've felt that my arm has responded very well," Floyd said. "I know the protocol here and this organization has a plan and we'll stick with that."
--RHP Craig Kimbrel (shoulder soreness) was held out of the lineup April 14-17 and is listed as day-to-day. Both the closer and manager Fredi Gonzalez said it is not serious. "It's something that I felt through spring training," Kimbrel said. "Nothing that really hinders me on the field, just a little uncomfortable. Just take a few days off."
--RHP Cory Gearrin (ligament damage in right elbow) was to have Tommy John surgery April 15 and miss the season. He went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 24, and he was transferred from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL on April 2. He left the March 23 game with the injury.
--RHP Kris Medlen (Tommy John surgery in March 2014) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on March 26. He will miss the entire season.
--RHP Brandon Beachy (Tommy John surgery in March 2014) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on March 29. He will miss the entire season.
--LHP Jonny Venters (Tommy John surgery in May 2013) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on March 29. He might be ready to return in June.
RHP Julio Teheran
LHP Alex Wood
RHP Aaron Harang
RHP David Hale
RHP Ervin Santana
RHP Craig Kimbrel (closer)
LHP Luis Avilan
RHP David Carpenter
RHP Jordan Walden
RHP Anthony Varvaro
RHP Gus Schlosser
LHP Ian Thomas
C/OF Ryan Doumit
1B Freddie Freeman
2B Dan Uggla
SS Andrelton Simmons
3B Chris Johnson
INF Ramiro Pena
INF Tyler Pastornicky
LF Justin Upton
CF B.J. Upton
RF Jason Heyward
OF Jordan Schafer
- Sports & Recreation
- Aaron Harang
- John Smoltz
- Tommy John surgery
- Gavin Floyd
- Tom Glavine
- Atlanta Braves
- Greg Maddux