After Fried's gem, Braves 'pen falls 1 out shy of club's 1st no-no since '94

May 12th, 2024

NEW YORK -- Raisel Iglesias might have initially been more upset about allowing J.D. Martinez’s home run had he actually known he was just one out away from what would have been the Braves’ first no-hitter in 30 years.

“To be honest, I didn’t know the no-hitter was happening,” Iglesias said through interpreter Franco Garcia. “When they called my name, I just went out there. Honestly, I’m a pitcher that doesn’t put too much stock in that. I don’t want to put any unnecessary pressure on myself.”

Martinez’s two-out homer in the ninth erased Atlanta’s hopes to celebrate a no-hitter. But the Braves still had plenty of reason to feel good after crafted yet another gem and helped them claim a 4-1 win over the Mets on Saturday afternoon at Citi Field.

“Giving it up with a homer is better than with an infield single,” Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud said.

Within the past two weeks, Fried has seen one combined no-hit bid end with a home run and another conclude with a softly-hit single that barely escaped the infield.

Fried threw six strong innings against the Mariners on April 29 and then watched that no-hit bid end when Joe Jiménez allowed a single in the eighth. Things got worse when A.J. Minter allowed a two-run walk-off homer in the ninth.

This conclusion was far more memorable. Fried’s 109-pitch, seven-inning effort was blemished by just three walks. Jiménez pitched around a pair of eighth-inning walks. Iglesias then got two quick outs before allowing Martinez to drive his solo shot over the right-center-field wall.

“It’s pretty cool to be part of an ‘almost [no-hitter]’ or a ‘26-outer,’” Braves center fielder Michael Harris II said. “Hopefully this season or in the very near future, we can squeeze one out.”

Fried’s recent starts will enhance the excitement surrounding what he might do with his next few starts.

Per Elias Sports Bureau, Fried is the first MLB pitcher to throw at least six no-hit innings twice within a span of three starts since Blake Snell in 2021 (Aug. 31 and Sept. 7). He is the first Braves pitcher to do so since Kevin Millwood in 1999 (June 6 and 17).

Though the Braves didn’t get to celebrate their first no-hitter since Kent Mercker threw one against the Dodgers on April 8, 1994, there was plenty to like after they claimed a fourth straight win.

Harris snapped an 0-for-29 skid with a three-hit effort and also made an impressive running catch to preserve Fried’s hitless bid in the seventh. But Saturday afternoon also gave Atlanta reason to believe it has its ace back.

Fried allowed three earned runs while getting chased in the first inning of his Opening Day start. He then surrendered six earned runs in the first inning of his next outing. Fried has posted a 1.85 ERA over the 43 2/3 innings that have followed. This includes him allowing four runs over seven innings at Dodger Stadium on May 5.

“Baseball is a crazy game,” Fried said. “Personally, I felt like I threw the ball better in L.A. [than I did against the Mets], but the results weren’t there. A lot of the time, you need stuff to go your way.”

Fried got some assistance after he walked Pete Alonso with one out in the seventh. Martinez followed with a line drive that came off the bat at 105.4 mph and found Harris’ glove just before he hit the center-field wall.

“I figured it out in the fifth inning, when I looked back at the scoreboard and realized that I didn’t remember anybody getting a hit,” Harris said. “So, I just kept it to myself and knew I had to try to go get anything.”

Harris and first baseman Matt Olson both grew up as Braves fans in suburban Atlanta, but neither seemed familiar with Mercker. That’s somewhat understandable. Olson was born a week before Mercker twirled what remains the club’s most recent no-hitter. Harris came along seven years later.