Aaron Harang's rough March smoothed out considerably with an unusual performance for the relaxed world of spring training, where velocity, control and pitch selection matter much more than results.
He didn't allow a hit.
The Reds right-hander bounced back from a bad start to hold the Pirates without a hit for six innings Sunday, facing only two batters over the minimum while pitching the Reds to a 6-0 victory in Bradenton, Fla.
Pittsburgh managed one hit each against relievers Mike Lincoln and David Weathers to avoid the embarrassment of being no-hit in a game that didn't count.
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"I was working on my change-up and slider," said Harang, the Reds' scheduled opening-day starter. "I feel good because I was throwing them in counts that I wouldn't normally throw them. I kept it down and kept them off balance. It's good to know you can throw them in any count."
Especially considering that Harang had little command while giving up six runs, all earned, and seven hits in 31⁄3 innings Tuesday against the Phillies.
"That's as good an outing as I've seen in a while," Reds Manager Dusty Baker said after Harang lowered his ERA from 7.24 to 5.03. "It feels good to win one. ... He threw some great breaking balls."
Marlins 2, Tigers 0: Ricky Nolasco combined on a no-hitter with relievers Dan Meyer and Leo Nunez, striking out eight over seven innings in the Marlins' victory in Lakeland, Fla.
Nolasco faced the minimum 21 batters, walking Ramon Santiago leading off the first and hitting Jeff Larish in the second. The runners were erased on double plays, and Marlins pitchers retired Detroit's next 22 batters.
Tigers Manager Jim Leyland said it was the first spring training no-hitter he has witnessed in nearly a half-century in baseball.
Angels 18, Royals 12: Los Angeles' Matt Brown went 6-for-6 with two home runs and the Angels and Royals combined for 15 home runs and 40 hits Sunday in Los Angeles' 18-12 win.
With wind gusting up to 36 mph, Juan Rivera homered and drove in four runs, and Mike Napoli had three hits, including a home run. Brandon Wood, Robb Quinlan, Jeff Mathis and Ryan Budde also homered for the Angels.
Miguel Olivo homered twice for Kansas City, which trailed 10-1 after three innings. Ryan Shealy, Mike Jacobs, Coco Crisp, Tony Pena Jr. and Albert Callaspo hit one each.
Rockies 4, Indians 3: Cleveland's Cliff Lee finally resembled his Cy Young Award form while Colorado's Aaron Cook showed crafty command in the Rockies' win in Tucson, Ariz.
Lee had struggled this spring, allowing 14 earned runs in 62⁄3 innings coming in. But he found his rhythm against the Rockies, giving up two runs in five innings.
Cook, a Fort Campbell native, pitched five economical innings, giving up just one run and five hits while throwing only 59 pitches. His 1.89 ERA is among the lowest in the Cactus League.
Mets 12, Braves 1: In his second Grapefruit League start this spring, Johan Santana tossed five strong innings and the Mets scored nine runs in the seventh for a victory in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
"I felt pretty good out there," said Santana, who didn't make his first exhibition start until March 12 and then faced minor-leaguers last Tuesday.
Around the league
Rays: Injured outfielder B.J. Upton most likely will miss the start of the regular season after being hit in the hand by a pitch during a minor-league spring training game Saturday. The Rays already were determined to not to rush the center fielder back from off-season surgery on his left, non-throwing shoulder. Although the hand injury is not considered serious, Manager Joe Maddon said it's doubtful Upton will be ready for opening day April 6.
Royals: Pitcher Yasuhiko Yabuta was among four players the Royals have assigned to their minor-league camp. The 32-year-old spent 12 years in Japan's Pacific League before signing a $6 million, two-year contract with the Royals before last season. He had an 8.53 ERA in seven spring training appearances, allowing 12 hits, two homers and five walks in 61⁄3 innings.
White Sox: Right-hander Gavin Floyd and Chicago agreed to a $15.5 million, four-year contract, a deal that includes a club option for 2013. The 26-year-old was 17-8 with a 3.84 ERA for the White Sox last year.
Brewers: Closer Trevor Hoffman, who strained his right oblique muscle while pitching against Kansas City on March 13 and hasn't thrown since, is unlikely to be healthy in time for opening day, the team said Sunday.