Charlie Morton’s no-hit bid fell short, but with a near-flawless outing, he joined a Braves Hall of Famer in the team record books.
Morton carried a no-hit big into the seventh inning, and gave up just three hits before he was removed in the eighth. It’s the kind of outing the Braves have been missing from anyone on their pitching staff minus Max Fried and Ian Anderson this season.
When Atlanta signed Morton in the offseason, this is the kind of shut-down potential they expected. Sure, it took until June, but if Morton can parlay Thursday night’s outing into something greater, perhaps this Braves team can go on the run necessary to get back into the NL East race.
Atlanta Braves: Charlie Morton joins team legend John Smoltz
With his scoreless outing, Morton became the oldest Braves pitcher to throw that many innings without giving up a run since Smoltz in 2006. Morton is 37 years old, and Smoltz was 39 at the time. Not bad company to be in.
Brian Snitker was equally impressed with the veteran hurler.
“That was about as clutch as it’s been all year,” Snitker said. “That was really fun to watch.”
Morton was signed to a one-year, $15 million deal in the offseason for a reason. The Braves were a season-high five games under the .500 mark entering the series, but now hope to turn the tide in the opposite direction. Atlanta is due.
“Overall, I think I’m trending in the right direction,” Morton said after his outing.
Snitker nearly removed Morton after the seventh inning, but after pleading with his manager, the Braves skipper relented.
“That’s a unique position to be in, where your manager actually is giving you the opportunity to discuss a plan and a decision that’s really ultimately his. You don’t get those opportunities very much anymore at all,” Morton said.
Overall, for Morton, Thursday’s start was an undeniable step in the right direction.