MILWAUKEE -- Matt Garza was good -- very good -- in his first start for the Milwaukee Brewers. Fortunately for the Braves, Aaron Harang was one pitch better.
The two veteran free-agent acquisitions, each making his debut for a new team, matched no-hitters for six innings before the Braves finally broke through in the seventh on Chris Johnson's solo home run, which was enough to give Atlanta 1-0 victory over the Brewers on Wednesday at Miller Park.
Garza was almost as effective for the Brewers, retiring the first 14 batters before walking Freddie Freeman with two outs in the fourth. He did not allow a hit until two outs in the seventh, when Johnson ripped a 1-0 pitch over the left-field wall for his first homer.
Harang's no-hit bid ended when Logan Schafer singled up the middle to open the seventh. Schafer was forced out at second when Ryan Braun reached on a fielder's choice. Aramis Ramirez then singled Braun to third before Harang retired Jonathan Lucroy on a popout to second. Harang gave way to Luis Avilan, who retired pinch-hitter Rickie Weeks on a bouncer to third.
Other than Johnson's home run, Garza allowed only an eighth-inning single to Gerald Laird, striking out seven and walking one before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the eighth.
Harang allowed just one baserunner through the first six innings, a one-out walk to Lyle Overbay in the third. Overbay was sacrificed to second by Garza, but Harang struck out Carlos Gomez to end the threat.
Harang, who was 5-11 last season in 22 starts with Seattle and then 0-1 in four late-season starts with the Mets, began the 2014 Spring Training with the Cleveland Indians, going 2-1 with a 4.91 ERA in five appearances (three starts) before being released. He was signed the same day by the Braves, who released veteran Freddy Garcia to make room for Harang.
Craig Kimbrel, who struck out all three batters he faced on Tuesday night to save the Braves' 5-2 victory, retired three straight again in the ninth for his second save. On Wednesday, the trio of Avilan, David Carpenter and Kimbrel retired all seven batters they faced.
--- Source: MLB.com
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt