Teheran dominates Phillies with three-hit shutout
Gattis finishes 4-for-4, goes deep in fourth for game's only run
PHILADELPHIA -- The best way to combat a chilly evening for a pitcher is to work quickly and let your opponent do all the hard work. At least, that seemed to be the case for Braves ace Julio Teheran on Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park.
"I think we were talking about it before the game," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "[In a game at Colorado last year], it was colder. Him being from Colombia, he's used to that kind of weather."
Teheran threw a masterful three-hit shutout and Evan Gattis -- who went a career-best 4-for-4 with a home run -- continued to devour Phillies pitching in 1-0 victory. Philadelphia starter Cliff Lee countered with the 29th double-digit strikeout performance of his career, as he scattered 11 hits in a complete game, but even that wasn't enough to defeat the young Colombian.
"[The cold weather] is just something you have to deal with," Teheran said. "When I have cold weather, I try to focus more and forget that it's cold."
Gonzalez knew what to expect, as he recounted Teheran's efforts last season at Colorado that had a game-time temperature of 30 degrees. In that game, Teheran allowed one run in seven innings. On this night, he was better.
"I think it bothers us more," Gonzalez said of a game that ended with the temperature at 31 degrees and an even lower wind chill. "You sit there. When those guys get hot and are moving around, it didn't affect our hitter or either pitcher."
"Just watching him, he was really mixing his speeds on his fastball," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said of Teheran. "Anywhere from 86- to 92-93 [mph] with the fastball. Different movements with each speed. Guys were not able to really gauge the fastball and the movement, and he mixed in his other pitches. Pitched a heck of a game."
To clearly understand just how well Teheran pitched, the ninth inning is a perfect example. With two outs, Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins singled into center. Chase Utley, who had an 11-game hitting streak coming into the game, worked a 3-0 count and appeared ready to give Ryan Howard a chance to be the hero with runners on first and second with two outs. Instead, Teheran countered with a pair of sinkers, the second of which induced a weak grounder to second base to end the game.
"The whole game, I was just trying to throw strikes, and all of my pitches were working," Teheran said. "I used my two-seamer for lefties and it was tough to hit.
"I wanted my first-career complete game. I wanted to stay focused. Against [Utley], I just tried to make the best pitch, like I did the whole game to him. Get the two-seamer and get a ground ball. I didn't try to strike him out."
Teheran struck out just four batters, but he managed the game as Phillies batters hit soft line drives and ground balls at the Braves' defense.
The Braves had better luck against Lee, but the only true blemish of the night was an 0-2 pitch to Gattis, who deposited a ball into the flower bed atop the left-field wall just out of the reach of Domonic Brown. Gattis has had great success at Citizens Bank Park -- he has hit .333 (8-for-24) with five home runs.
"Apparently a small sample size, I guess," Gattis said. "But I had a good day today."
This on a day his pitcher was even better, and Gattis knew that before the game even started.
"The first five [pitches] in the bullpen, it's like I could have caught with my eyes closed," Gattis said. "Sometimes you have guys who are rough warming up and then they get out there and it clicks. Then the lights are on and guys are trying to hit you, and you kind of turn it on. But today, it was from the get-go."
Teheran's dominance came in a different form than Lee's. The Phillies' starter finished with a career-high 128 pitches, in large part due to his 13 strikeouts. Teheran, meanwhile, got into a steady rhythm as the Phils swung early and often and kept the 23-year-old's pitch count to 115.
"Cliff and Teheran are both good pitchers, the way they worked the game," Phillies center fielder Ben Revere said. "We were right there, we kept at it, because we knew Cliff would keep them right there, just one run. But that's how baseball goes -- hit it hard and right at them. It's just frustrating. We just have to keep our heads up for tomorrow."