video thumbnail

ATL@STL: Harang fans seven over six strong innings

Aaron Harang and Matt Garza gave baseball one of its first pitchers' duels of 2014 on April 2 in Milwaukee. Both hurlers carried no-hitters into the seventh inning before Chris Johnson plated the game's decisive run with a solo homer in seventh.

"It was tough," Johnson said. "I ended up getting a pitch out over the plate -- one of the only mistakes I think [Garza] made that night."

With the sequel set for Thursday night at Turner Field, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke simply said, "They were both on their game."

Both clubs need their respective veteran to turn in another good outing, as each club has not only struggled at the plate this month, but has shown new signs of life in recent days. Atlanta scored 14 runs combined on Monday and Tuesday, and Milwaukee plated six in Wednesday's victory at Turner Field.

Harang has used the momentum from his debut gem to post a 2.98 ERA in nine starts this season. The right-hander has recorded a quality start in eight of his nine turns, giving up two runs or fewer in every game but one.

"Obviously, you just want to make a good first impression for your new team, go out there and give us a chance to win," Harang said. "It was nice to come out on such a positive note right out of the chute."

Unlike Harang, Garza has not pitched as well as he did that day in Milwaukee. His ERA has climbed from 1.13 to 4.83 in eight starts since as the right-hander has compiled a 1.35 WHIP that is on track to be his highest since 2007.

He did, however, pitch one of his better outings this season during his last turn on May 17 against the Cubs. He walked one batter and gave up four hits in seven innings, each number his best since he pitched against Chicago on April 25.

He has also given up three earned runs in three consecutive starts, an improvement from the second half of April when he compiled a 6.55 ERA in four starts.

Even more encouraging, Garza gave up only one hit in his final six innings after giving up all three of his runs in the first at Wrigley Field in his last turn.

"First inning was a hiccup," Garza said. "It's kind of been what it's been like all year. … I'm just going to keep going, keep grinding, keep working out and keep going. It's going to come together sooner or later."

Braves: Gattis hopeful for late-week return

Evan Gattis has missed the past two games with a virus that began bothering him on Saturday. Gattis was still battling a fever and some weakness on Wednesday. But the Braves are hopeful that he will return to the lineup on Thursday or Friday.

Brewers: Lohse returns staff to 'quality'

Milwaukee had a season-long streak of three straight games without a quality start from its rotation snapped on Wednesday night when Kyle Lohse notched his ninth by giving up only one run in eight innings of work.

The streak began on Sunday when Marco Estrada surrendered four earned against the Cubs in five innings of work.

Wily Peralta only gave up two earned runs on Monday, but he lasted only five innings, and Yovani Gallardo suffered a sprained left ankle that shortened his Tuesday start to 3 1/3 innings, but he had already surrendered four earned runs before his exit.

Worth noting
• Justin Upton has hit .400 with nine home runs and a 1.296 OPS in 23 home games.

• Scooter Gennett finished 2-for-5 on Wednesday night, giving him the team lead with 13 multi-hit games.

• Tyler Pastornicky has realized some gradual improvement with a left calf strain that has sidelined him for the past four games. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said there is a chance that Pastornicky will resume his role as the starting second baseman as early as Thursday.

• Carlos Gomez's two-run homer on Wednesday snapped a streak of nine straight solo home runs by the center fielder to begin the season. Comments