=== Santana tries to follow up Harang gem in New York ===
(SportsNetwork.com) - Ervin Santana tries to continue his impressive start to
the season on Saturday when the Atlanta Braves continue a three-game series
with the New York Mets at Citi Field.
Signed by the Braves to add depth to a starting rotation that was riddled with
injuries this spring, Santana has looked like an ace, going 1-0 with a 0.64
ERA in two starts.
The right-hander did not get a decision his last time out, though, despite
allowing the Philadelphia Phillies just one run and four hits in six innings.
He also matched a career-high with 11 strikeouts in that one.
Santana's string could continue on Saturday, as he has beaten the Mets both
times he has faced them and has allowed just one run in 14 innings in doing
New York, meanwhile, will counter with righty Bartolo Colon, who is coming off
one of the worst starts of his career. Colon was rocked by the Los Angeles
Angels of Anaheim on Sunday to the tune of nine runs and 11 hits in five
innings, as he fell to 1-2 on the year, while raising his ERA to 6.00.
After the start Colon admitted his back was bothering him and some thought he
would not be able to take his normal turn in the rotation. Apparently he's
ready to go, though, and will try to continue his mastery of the Braves. He is
4-0 lifetime against them with a 1.20 ERA.
Colon's going to need a little more run support than the Mets gave Jon Niese
on Friday, as they were nearly no-hit in a 6-0 loss.
Aaron Harang tossed seven innings without giving up a hit before leaving due
to a high pitch count, but two Atlanta relievers preserved his shutout and
held New York to just one hit on the night.
Harang (3-1) struck out five and walked six, but after 121 pitches manager
Fredi Gonzalez decided to pull his starter despite the no-hitter and turn it
over the pen. Luis Avilan retired the first two batters he faced in the eighth
before David Wright ripped a single to left for New York's first and only hit.
Jordan Walden pitched a perfect ninth to finish it.
"It's tough on him (Gonzalez), and he reiterated multiple times 'man I'm
sorry, I hate doing that,'" said Harang. "I understand, I've seen it happen.
It's happened to me before. I want us to win."
Harang, who struggled in 26 starts last season for the Mariners and Mets, has
been terrific in four starts so far for the Braves. The 35-year-old righty has
allowed just two runs and nine hits in 25 2/3 innings.
"I'm pulling for him," Gonzalez said. "I want to see him throw a no-hitter.
But I think it gets to a point where you have to worry about 25 more starts.
You have to worry about his longevity. I think we made the right decision."
Freddie Freeman hit his fifth home run of the season for the Braves, winners
in six of seven. Chris Johnson had three hits, including two doubles, with an
RBI and a run scored and Dan Uggla doubled and scored in the triumph.
Niese (0-2) was the unlucky loser after giving up just a run on four hits
while striking out seven in six innings
Atlanta lost two of three versus the Mets at Turner Field from April 8-10, but
has won five of the past eight meetings overall between the NL East foes.
04/19 08:44:18 ET