Apr 18, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Aaron Harang (34) pitches against the New York Mets during the second inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

4/18 Game Recap: Aaron Harang And Braves One-Hit Mets; Fall 6-0 In Homecoming

The Mets returned from their successful 6-3 road trip to host the Atlanta Braves this evening in the first of a three game weekend series.  Jon Niese made his third start for the Mets, who got their second look at Braves starter, Aaron Harang.

PRE-GAME NEWS:

The Mets starting line-up was still unknown as of 6:30pm, but once submitted to the media at roughly 6:35pm, it featured Chris Young batting 5th, and playing center field.  This was Chris Young‘s first start since missing time on the disabled list with a strained hamstring, and only his second game of the season.

During SNY’s pre-game show, Kevin Burkhardt speculated that perhaps the reason the Mets line-up was announced late was because a trade could have possibly been in the works.  Turns out, he was right.  It was confirmed by the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Mets traded Ike Davis for (rhp) Zack Thornton, and a player to be named later.  The second player completing the deal, is rumored to be of a considerably higher quality than Thornton.

METS STARTING LINE-UP:

LF) – Eric Young Jr.; 2B) – Daniel Murphy; 3B) – David Wright; RF) – Curtis Granderson; CF) – Chris Young; 1B) – Lucas Duda; C) – Travis d’Arnaud; SS) – Ruben Tejada; SP) – Jon Niese.

GAME SUMMARY:

Jon Niese’s first pitch of the evening was a fastball, outside, for ball one.  He retired his first batter on three pitches.  With just 5 pitches thrown, there were two outs.  The side was retired after nine pitches.  Jon featured an early first pitch curveball, and was hitting 90mph on the gun.

Aaron Harang’s first pitch to Eric Young was a fastball, down the middle for strike one.  The Mets went quietly in the first.

The Braves posted the first run of the game in the 2nd inning.  Jon Niese surrendered a lead-off single to Justin Upton, and issued a walk to catcher Evan Gattis.  Third baseman Chris Young then doubled home the first run of the game.  But, with two runners in scoring position and only one out, the Mets did well to escape the inning without further damage.

In the bottom of the 2nd, Lucas Duda drew a walk.  Travis d’Arnaud then bounced a dribbler towards first base, and although called out, he apparently beat the throw.  First baseman Freddie Freeman threw across the diamond where a tag was applied on an advancing Lucas Duda, who was technically a fourth out.  But, Terry Collins never challenged the play at first base, thus ending the inning.

Jon Niese wriggled out of trouble again in the 3rd inning.  Shortstop Andrelton Simmons led off with an infield single off David Wright‘s glove.  After Niese issued a walk to B.J. Upton, Freddie Freeman then bounced into a 4-6-3 double-play, which advanced Simmons to third.  But, Jon Niese reared back to strikeout Justin Upton to end the top half of the frame.

Through three innings, Jon Niese faced 11 batters, threw 48 pitches, with only 28 (58%) going for strikes.  He allowed one earned run on 3 hits, walked 2, and struck out 3.

Jon Niese threw a very effective 4th inning.  He allowed his 4th hit of the game, yet struck out the side.  He raised his strikeout count to 6, and to that point, fanned 4 of his last 5.  He then retired the side in order in the 5th on 3 ground balls.  Jon was up to 79 pitches, with a much improved 53 (67%) going for strikes.

Niese’s 90th pitch of the game came in the 6th to Justin Upton, who drew a lead-off walk.  He was stranded at first after Jon retired Evan Gattis on a fly to right, and struck out Dan Uggla – his 7th strikeout of the night.  Jon ended his outing with 104 pitches thrown, and 67 (64%) going for strikes.  He walked three, and allowed the one earned run on four hits.  Kirk Nieuwenhuis pinch-hit for him in the bottom on the frame.

Aaron Harang carried a no-hitter through 5 innings.  He issued his 3rd walk to Eric Young, with one out in the 6th.  Daniel Murphy followed by flying harmlessly to right, and Davis Wright then drew the 4th Mets walk of the evening.  With EYJ in scoring position and 2 outs, Curtis Granderson stepped in, and looked at an inside fastball for strike three to end the threat.

Aaron Harang finished the 6th inning at 98 pitches, with 59 (60%) going for strikes.  He issued 4 walks and fanned 4.

Carlos Torres entered the game in the 7th inning in relief of Jon Niese.  Chris Johnson promptly greeted him with a lead-off double, and advanced to third on Ryan Doumit‘s grounder.  With one out, Aaron Harang stepped in for his at-bat, and struck out swinging.  With 2 outs, Andrelton Simmons bounced to Ruben Tejada to end the threat.

Aaron Harang issued a 2 out walk to Travis d’Arnaud in the 7th, his 5th of the game.  Ruben Tejada battled Harang and drew yet another walk.  Andrew Brown was sent up to pinch-hit for Carlos Torres, while Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez made no move for the bullpen.

With the tying run in scoring position, Andrew Brown quickly went down 0-2 in the count.  Brown then worked the count full, but swung through a slider for strike three.  Aaron Harang escaped the inning, but his pitch count grew to 121.  He was clearly done for the night.

Gonzalez Germen entered the game in the 8th inning in relief of Carlos Torres.  After B.J. Upton reached on an infield single, Freddie Freeman gave the Braves a 3-1 lead, with his 5th home run of the season.  Justin Upton then drew a walk.  Dan Uggla followed with a double off the left field wall.  Upton was thrown out at home 7-6-2, but when Uggle tried advancing on the throw, Travis d’Arnaud’s throwing error allowed Uggla to score the Braves 4th run.

Scott Rice relieved Gonzalez Germen.  Jordan Schafer greeting him with a double over the head of Curtis Granderson in right. Chris Johnson, who reached on a single, scored on the play to give the Braves a 5-0 lead.

Luis Avilan entered the game in the 8th in relief of Aaron Harang.  Leading-off and batting from the right side, Eric Young struck out looking at an inside fastball.  Daniel Murphy tapped out to Avilan. David Wright finally broke up the no-hitter with a clean base hit to left field.  Thank goodness!  Curtis Granderson then fanned swinging to end the inning.

Jeurys Familia entered the game to pitch the 9th inning.  With one out, B.J. Upton singled, and moved to third base on Freddie Freeman’s double.  B.J. scored on his brother’s sac fly, which gave the Braves a 6-0 lead.

Reliever Jordan Walden entered the game to pitch the 9th inning, and retired the side in order.

On the heels of a fruitful road trip, and climbing a game above .500, the Mets lost the opening game of their home stand 6-0, to the Atlanta Braves, which evened their record at 8-8.  The Mets woes at Citi Field continue.  The Mets are now 2-5 at home.

SCORING SUMMARY:

  • Top 2nd inning - Justin Upton lead-off single; Evan Gattis walk; Chris Johnson’s one out double scores Upton.
  • Top 8th inning – B.J. Upton reached on a one out infield hit, and Freddie Freeman launched a home run off Gonzalez Germen.  Justin Upton then walked, and Uggla doubled to left.  Upton was thrown out at home, but Uggla scored on a throwing error by d’Arnaud.  Chris Johnson then singled, and scored on Jordan Schafer‘s double.
  • Top 9th inning – B.J. Upton singled, an moved to third on Freddie Freeman’s double.  Justin Upton’s sac fly scored B.J. Upton, making the score 6-0, Braves.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The 2nd inning play involving Travis d’Arnaud running out a ground ball with 2 outs, with Lucas Duda as a lead runner (and getting tagged out for the “4th out”), presented a very intriguing scenario, and itself, presented a challenge to the replay system in matters of play continuation.
  • Jon Niese pitched a fine game, save for allowing one earned run in the 2nd inning.  Otherwise, he allowed only 4 hits, walked 3, and fanned 7 batters.  However, he left the game on the losing side.
  • The 1st time through the line-up, the Mets only reached base on a pair of walks to Lucas Duda and Jon Niese.  The 2nd time through the order, the Mets came no closer to solving Aaron Harang.  Nine went to bat, and 9 batters were turned away.  Their 3rd time through, they drew 3 more walks, but no hits.
  • Aaron Harang pitched 7 full innings, allowed no runs, on no hits, walked 5, and fanned 5, to include the last batter he faced.  He exited on the winning side of a 1-0 game.
  • David Wright broke up the no-hitter with 2 outs in the 8th inning, and extended his hitting streak to 9 games.
  • The Mets were shut out for the first time this season.

THOUGHTS:

The Mets made Aaron Harang look like Cy Young tonight!  Aaron Harang!  The former Met, Harang… Ponderous!

At least David Wright, the Captain, was able to bare down, and break up another potential piece of history at the Mets expense.  Give him a game ball.


NEXT:

4/19 Saturday, 7:10pm – Braves @ Mets.

Pitching Match-Up: Bartolo Colon vs. Ervin Santana

 

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