Braves' bats let down Teheran in loss to Rox

Atlanta's eight-game win streak comes to a halt at Coors

August 27th, 2019

DENVER -- Monday was a weird day for the Braves.

Fresh off an eighth straight victory Sunday and a weekend sweep of the Mets, Atlanta flew across the country to play a makeup game against Colorado at Coors Field, only to fly back east to Toronto after a 3-1 walk-off loss to the Rockies. The game had originally been scheduled for April 10, until a blizzard postponed those plans.

Looking ahead at the schedule, fitting in a makeup contest that didn’t require thousands of miles of travel within a 24-hour period was a challenge. The two teams had to wait 4 1/2 months until they could finally find a spot. Then they had to wait 7 1/2 innings until they could finally score a run.

“We knew it was gonna be a tough one,” said starter , who tossed six scoreless innings while yielding three hits, walking three and striking out four.

“Coming here, coming from back east, playing a day game, was tough. I just came in here and just wanted to do my part.”

Teheran did, pushing his scoreless-inning streak to 13 after seven strong frames last Wednesday against the Marlins. Outside of a rough 1 1/3-inning outing against the Mets on Aug. 15, in which he surrendered six runs, Teheran’s ERA is 1.92 over nine starts dating back to June 29.

“I know my last outing here wasn’t the way I wanted,” Teheran said, referring to a six-run fifth inning that did him in on April 8. “But I took it as a different game and I’ve been doing great. I’ve got all the confidence. I had a plan. It was my first time pitching with [Francisco] Cervelli behind the plate, but we got on the same page quickly.”

Teheran used mostly a fastball-slider mix Monday, throwing 38 four-seamers, 29 two-seamers and 24 sliders among his 97 pitches. Of the 15 balls put in play against the right-hander, only two were hard-hit (95 mph or greater exit velocity) per Statcast.

There wasn’t much support from the Braves’ lineup, relatively quiet for a second consecutive day after a 2-1 win Sunday. Atlanta’s bats were silenced by a pair of pitchers who weren’t even on Colorado’s active roster until a week ago. Journeyman right-hander Tim Melville shut the Braves down for five innings, and reliever Wes Parsons (who was designated for assignment by Atlanta on Aug. 16) blanked them for two more.

The Braves didn’t go quietly, though. Down 1-0 in the ninth inning, Cervelli tripled to right-center field and pinch-runner scored the tying run on a pinch-hit sacrifice fly from . But in the bottom of the frame, Ryan McMahon lined a two-run homer off that bounced on top of the right-field wall and went over to end the game.

So on one side, it was a loss with a dormant offense amid a brutal couple of days of travel. But on the other, Teheran pitched well again and shortstop was back in the lineup, smashing two baseballs that were nearly home runs -- one was a 405-foot drive caught at the wall in left-center field, the other went just foul.

“He squared a couple balls up really good,” manager Brian Snitker said. “He just missed two balls. Actually, it was a lot better than I even anticipated. Just good to get him back in the flow there.”

Swanson, who has hit a career-high 17 homers this season, could help boost the offense moving forward. Snitker isn’t worried about the bats at this point.

“We’ve won eight out of nine, and really haven’t swung the bats as a team very well at all,” he said. “But we’ve pitched, so that’s great. Rarely do you have everything hitting on all cylinders. Hopefully, when the bats come alive, they’ll pick the pitching up, and it’ll be a good balance.”

As they continue their quest for a second consecutive National League East title, the Braves know there will be days like this. They will just have to move on to the next.

“We’ll get [into Toronto] with enough time to get some sleep,” Snitker said. “You don’t belabor it or dwell on it, because it’s just what we do. We signed up to do this.

“It’s not easy all the time. But you just have to do it.”