MILWAUKEE (AP) — Matt Garza struggled during spring training after signing a $50 million, four-year contract with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Despite a sharp outing in his debut, he was outpitched by Aaron Harang in Wednesday's 1-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
Garza and Aaron Harang both had no-hit bids until Chris Johnson homered with two outs in the seventh inning.
"It's one mistake, and that's it. It's the big leagues," Garza said. "You've got to pay for things like that, especially with the heater to the four-hole hitter."
Garza (0-1) allowed one run and two hits in eight innings, struck out seven and walked none, throwing 65 of 90 pitches for strikes.
"For the most part, I felt like I did a great job, and I didn't want to give in to any of them," Garza said. "I know they're great hitters, and they've got a nice lineup, but I just had a lot more confidence in my stuff."
Garza was 1-3 with an 8.80 ERA in five spring training appearances. He started with 11 straight outs against the Braves before he walked Freddie Freeman.
"I liked the way he threw the ball today," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "He's going to win a lot of games if he pitches like that. We just need to score runs."
This marked the first time both starting pitchers in a big league game had not allowed a hit through six innings since June 13, 2010, when Ted Lilly of the Cubs and Gavin Floyd of the White Sox accomplished the feat, according to STATS. Alfonso Soriano doubled with two outs in the bottom of the seventh and scored on Chad Tracy's single, and Lilly didn't allow a hit until pinch-hitter Juan Pierre's leadoff single in the ninth. The Cubs won 1-0.
After spending most of spring training with Cleveland on a minor league contract, Harang signed with the Braves on March 24 after a series of injuries to the team's pitchers.
"It's a huge pickup for us," Johnson said. "We were struggling with having guys go down and we're going to struggle getting guys healthy and to have a performance like that, it's just what we needed."
After season-ending injuries to Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy, the Braves signed Harang and Ervin Santana.
Given how good Garza was, Harang had little margin for error.
Harang (1-0) didn't allow a hit until Logan Schafer grounded a single leading off the bottom of the seventh.
"There's no panic in here," Schafer said. "We know we can hit. We know what our offense can do. Today just wasn't one of those days."
Harang gave up two hits in 6 2-3 innings, struck out three and walked one, throwing 63 of 97 pitches for strikes.
Relievers Luis Avilan, David Carpenter and Craig Kimbrel held the Brewers hitless. Kimbrel got three outs for his second save, completing a two-hitter.
NOTES: Garza hit a dribbler in front of the plate in the sixth that Harang fielded cleanly and threw to first for the out. Gomez followed with a drive down the left-field line that hooked foul, then struck out. ... Jason Heyward's diving catch of a Ryan Braun liner to right in the fourth kept Harang's no-hit bid intact. ... The Brewers start a six-game trip Friday to Boston and Philadelphia. ... The Braves have Thursday off, then are at Washington on Friday in the Nationals' opener.