WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Moments after the no-hitter was no more, Atlanta manager Bobby Cox was disappointed. No kidding.
"Almost," Cox said after the Braves came within one out of a combined no-hitter. "Dang it. Almost."
Danny Sandoval hit a two-out RBI single in the ninth inning off reliever Colter Bean — Atlanta’s seventh pitcher — for Cleveland’s only hit and Mark Teixeira homered and drove in two runs in the Braves’ 4-1 win over the Indians on Wednesday.
Bean, who walked two in the ninth, had one strike on Sandoval when the infielder lined a shot off the right-field wall to score Beau Mills, the Indians’ first-round draft pick last year.
"I didn’t think about the no-hitter until after the fact," Bean said. "Then I thought, ‘Well, I’m the king of that.’ I ruined a couple of no-hitters in the minors."
Cox has seen more than his share of great pitching performances during 22 seasons with the Braves.
And he’ll always appreciate one whether it’s March, June or October or in Florida, Arizona or anywhere else.
"It doesn’t matter if it’s spring training or not," he said. "You always want one of those."
Jair Jurrjens, trying win Atlanta’s No. 5 starter’s job, pitched three perfect innings with two strikeouts. The 22-year-old right-hander, who came over from Detroit in the offseason trade that sent All-Star shortstop Edgar Renteria to the Tigers, was much more relaxed in his second spring start.
"I know these guys a little bit," said Jurrjens, who got his first major league win against the Indians last season.
The Braves scored three times in the fourth off Cleveland closer Joe Borowski, a former Brave. Teixeira hit an RBI single and Joe Borchard drove in two runs with a double off Borowski, who led the AL with 45 saves last season.
Teixeira made it 4-0 in the sixth, driving a pitch from Masa Kobayashi deep over the right-field wall and toward some neighboring condominiums.
Cleveland starter Paul Byrd worked three scoreless innings, striking out two. Byrd’s only blemish was losing track of the outs in the second.
After striking out Tyler Flowers for the second out, Byrd began walking to the dugout before he realized he needed another out.
"I showed my first signs of aging," he joked.
"That worried me a little bit. I don’t know if that has ever happened to me before. It was a little crazy."
As expected, Byrd’s teammates didn’t spare him any teasing for the brain cramp.
"Oh yeah, everyone was all over me," he said.
"They weren’t going to let me get away with that. You feel like an idiot out there."Notes: Byrd is still awaiting word from Major League Baseball concerning his admitted use of human-growth hormone. The 37-year-old met with baseball officials in December, but hasn’t heard yet if he’ll be suspended. ... Braves C Javy Lopez, trying to make a comeback after sitting out last season, went 0-for-2. He’s batting .167 so far this spring. ... LHP Tom Glavine will start for Atlanta on Thursday against Detroit’s Dontrelle Willis in Lakeland. ... The Indians will start C.C. Sabathia in Kissimmee against Houston’s Woody Williams.