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Friday, April 18, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Braves 6, Mets 0

By Kieran Darcy

NEW YORK -- The New York Mets made big news at the beginning of the night and almost made even bigger news at the end of it.

Just a few minutes prior to first pitch, the Mets announced they had traded first baseman Ike Davis to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Over the next three hours, they were nearly no-hit by the Atlanta Braves.

Braves starter Aaron Harang, who was with the Mets last September, held them without a hit for seven innings. But Harang walked six batters and needed 121 pitches just to get that far, leading Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez to go to his bullpen.

Reliever Luis Avilan retired the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the eighth, but then David Wright laced a 1-1 74 mph curveball into left field for a single, ending the Braves' no-hit bid.

That was New York's only hit of the night. The first-place Braves improve to 11-5, while the third-place Mets fall to 8-8.

What a bargain! The Braves signed Harang at the end of spring training for $1 million after he was cut by the Cleveland Indians, who had signed him to a minor league deal in February.

The 35-year-old improved to 3-1 on the season with a 0.70 ERA.

Hard luck: Jonathon Niese pitched well for the Mets, giving up just one run on four hits in six innings with seven strikeouts and three walks. Nevertheless, Niese dropped to 0-2 on the season despite an ERA of 2.84.

Pen implosion: The Braves were still clinging to a 1-0 lead entering the eighth inning, after the Mets' Carlos Torres pitched a scoreless seventh in relief of Niese.

But then Gonzalez Germen and Scott Rice combined to give up four runs in the eighth.

Germen had pitched 9⅓ scoreless innings in a row and retired 31 of the past 34 batters he had faced, but he was charged with all four runs, including a two-run homer by the Freddie Freeman. Rice also surrendered an RBI double in the inning.

Jeurys Familia gave up one more Atlanta run in the ninth.

Streak over: Catcher Travis d'Arnaud committed a throwing error in the eighth inning, which allowed a run to score. The Mets had not made an error in their past eight games and boasted the best fielding percentage in the National League at .991.

What's next: The second game of this three-game series. It'll be Bartolo Colon (1-2, 6.00 ERA) for the Mets, opposed by Ervin Santana (1-0, 0.64). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.