But having not pitched a big league game since being placed on the disabled list June 10 with a right foot contusion, the Padres' righty knew manager Bud Black had no choice but to remove him after 95 pitches, despite his six no-hit innings against the Dodgers.
"It wasn't frustrating," Harang said. "Bud was looking out for my health right there. If it's a different situation, maybe if I'm through seven, it's probably gonna be a different scenario."
Before the game, Black had said he planned to err on the side of caution with Harang, who threw 70 pitches in four innings Monday in a rehab start. With a fresh bullpen, Black stayed true to his word, using four relievers from the seventh inning on in the Padres' 1-0 loss to the Dodgers.
"The guy hasn't pitched in a month," Black said. "Go out for the seventh and then what? Go out for the eighth and then the ninth? Throw 130 pitches when he hasn't pitched for a month?"
Harang said had he not been coming off the disabled list, he would have attempted to fight through the high pitch count for the Padres' first no-hitter. But it was the logical decision to remove him after six.
"I've thrown 130 before," Harang said. "But I wasn't coming right off the DL and not having pitched competitively but four innings in a whole month."
Harang knew there was no chance he'd last nine innings, though he joked with Black after being removed, asking why he'd replace a pitcher with a no-hitter. That said, after the sixth inning, Harang's only question was whether he'd be left in for one more inning -- not three.
Harang dominated in those six innings, mixing plenty of offspeed pitches with a good fastball. He struck out six and walked three.
He returned early from his rehab assignment to pitch Saturday, initially planning to pitch two games with Class A Lake Elsinore. But he felt no ill effects from his foot injury in his first game. He wasn't on a pitch count Saturday, though he would have been limited to 80-90 pitches had he stayed on his rehab.
Black offered nothing but praise for Harang, whose ERA dropped to 3.45 with the no-decision.
"He pitched great," Black said. "He was really in control of the game."
The Padres lost the game on a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning, a batter after their combined no-hitter was broken up 8 2/3 innings into the game.
Harang said he wasn't frustrated with the offense for failing to score -- it hasn't done so in 20 innings. He was simply disappointed the Padres lost their fourth straight.
"I'm out there trying to do what I can to help the team win," he said. "Obviously I did my job today. You kind of wish for a different outcome, but that's why this game's so much fun, because you never know what's going to happen."