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Braves dealt rare loss after slugging six HRs

Atlanta makes things interesting by going deep three times in ninth
@mlbbowman
August 16, 2019

ATLANTA -- There aren’t many instances when somebody would rather not join Warren Spahn as the only pitchers to ever experience something. But Julio Teheran was certainly feeling that way after his career-worst start prevented the Braves a chance to celebrate the six homers they hit in a 10-8 loss

ATLANTA -- There aren’t many instances when somebody would rather not join Warren Spahn as the only pitchers to ever experience something. But Julio Teheran was certainly feeling that way after his career-worst start prevented the Braves a chance to celebrate the six homers they hit in a 10-8 loss to the Mets on Thursday night at SunTrust Park.

“Whenever you have a game like that, you have to look up and accept that it wasn’t your day,” Teheran said after allowing six earned runs over a career-short 1 1/3 innings.

Box score

Quite honestly, there haven’t been many days like this in the game’s history. This marked just the 10th time in franchise history the Braves have hit at least six homers and the second time they’ve lost while doing so. Their previous such loss occurred on June 8, 1961, when Eddie Mathews (two), Hank Aaron, Joe Adcock, Frank Thomas and Spahn homered in a 10-8 loss to the Reds.

Per Baseball-Reference’s Play Index, this also marked just the 26th time since 1908 a team lost while hitting at least six homers. The most recent occurrence had been July 26, 2018, when the Angels beat the White Sox.

Along with tallying one of his 35 career homers, Spahn allowed six runs -- five earned -- over five innings during that loss, which occurred nearly 60 years ago. So he was likely a little less frustrated than Teheran, who retired just three of the 14 batters faced and found himself facing a 3-0 deficit when Pete Alonso tied a National League rookie record by hitting his 39th homer before the game’s first out was recorded.

Still, even after encountering a 6-0 deficit through two innings, the Braves created some entertainment. Ronald Acuña Jr. robbed a homer in mischievous fashion in the sixth inning and then sparked a four-run ninth inning with a two-run shot -- his 35th homer of the season.

Freddie Freeman secured his second career 30-homer season in the eighth and then added another solo shot in the ninth. Josh Donaldson then matched Freeman’s two-homer performance when he followed with a solo shot off Drew Gagnon, who became the fourth pitcher and first reliever to ever allow the Braves four home runs while recording five outs or less.

Donaldson is now two homers shy of joining Acuna and Freeman in the 30-homer club. This would mark just the seventh time in franchise history the Braves have had at least three players hit 30 homers or more.

“This team is relentless,” Braves reliever Josh Tomlin said. “They come at you from the first pitch to the 27th out. We had a chance to win that game tonight.”

Tomlin surrendered 10 of the Mets’ 23 hits and allowed four earned runs. But the five innings he covered upon Teheran’s exit prevented Braves manager Brian Snitker from having to tax his primary relievers heading into this weekend’s series against the Dodgers.

“Josh Tomlin was just tremendous,” Snitker said. “That could have been disastrous.”

As the Braves squandered an opportunity to sweep the previously red-hot Mets, they saw Teheran become just their 11th starter dating back to 1991 to allow at least six earned runs while recording four outs or less. Three of these instances have occurred this season.

Kevin Gausman allowed eight earned runs over an inning against the Nationals on May 29, and Touki Toussaint surrendered seven earned runs over 1 1/3 innings during the memorable April 20 comeback win in Cleveland. While Gausman has since been given to the Reds and Toussaint is currently with Triple-A Gwinnett, the Braves will continue to count on Teheran, who had entered the night with the National League’s fourth-best ERA (2.56) dating back to May 1.

“If you try to look through the lines too hard, you’ll just go cross-eyed,” Snitker said. “It was just one of those nights.”

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.