Teheran shakes off homer, sparks Braves' win
Righty blanks Fish after Stanton's shot; double sets up go-ahead rally
MIAMI -- Julio Teheran has spent this season's first two months legitimizing the belief that he has already established himself as the ace of the Braves' staff. In the process, he has shown he is willing and capable of doing whatever necessary to achieve success.
Teheran proved to be a multi-dimensional threat as he guided the Braves to Friday night's much-needed 3-2 win over the Marlins. Along with righting himself after surrendering Giancarlo Stanton's titanic first-inning home run, the 23-year-old right-hander preserved his latest effort with a key offensive contribution.
"He's a stud, he earned this one," Braves third baseman Chris Johnson said. "We're still not throwing too many crooked numbers up there. He had our back tonight and we got him just enough."
Teheran bid adieu to his 15-inning scoreless streak when Stanton jumped on a hanging slider and drove it deep over the center-field wall in the first inning. The young hurler then alertly shied away from this oft-effective breaking pitch as he went through the remainder of his 7 1/3 innings without allowing another run.
After finding his groove on the mound, Teheran aided his own cause by notching a pair of hits for the third time in his career and second time this season. His leadoff double sparked the decisive two-run seventh inning that doomed Marlins starter Tom Koehler and put the Braves back in sole possession of first place in the National League East.
"I felt like I had to start a rally," Teheran said. "I just tried to put a ball in play. That's what I did. I think that was the biggest play of this game."
Teheran snuck his opposite-field double past the first-base bag and then crossed the plate in uncontested fashion when Jason Heyward followed with a game-tying triple that caromed off the left-center-field wall. B.J. Upton then fell behind with an 0-2 count before sending his game-winning sacrifice fly to left field.
"B.J. had a great at-bat, especially down 0-2," Johnson said. "Down 0-2, battled and got the ball to the outfield and got that guy in. That was the at-bat of the night. Teheran and our bullpen took care of the rest."
The Braves blew leads, including Thursday night's two-run eighth-inning advantage, in three of the four losses suffered against the Red Sox this week. But after Teheran exited with a runner on second and one out in the eighth, Luis Avilan and David Carpenter combined to keep the Marlins scoreless.
Craig Kimbrel, who had issued two walks to begin Thursday's decisive ninth inning, then preserved Teheran's effort with a scoreless ninth that moved him one save away from tying John Smoltz's franchise-record total (154). More importantly, Kimbrel's clean outing snapped his club's four-game losing streak and provided a much-needed win for Teheran, who is tied for third in the Majors with a 1.83 ERA.
"The more he goes out there, the more I get impressed by him, with his demeanor and the way he goes about his business," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of the starter. "You watch him grow up right in front of your face."
Teheran had retired 12 straight batters before Adeiny Hechavarria was credited with a single that Johnson fumbled in front of third base to begin the bottom of the eighth inning. Hechavarria's second-inning single and Casey McGehee's fourth-inning leadoff single accounted for the only other hits Teheran surrendered after Stanton's first-inning blast.
"He throws a lot of strikes," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "He's got good stuff. He's got a changeup, he's got a nice slider. I don't know what it looks like up there hitting, but it looks uncomfortable. He throws inside enough to keep you off balance, and has good tempo and he seems to be able to make big pitches when he needs them."
Teheran breathed a sigh of relief when Stanton hit a 0-1 curveball that soared toward the dome's ceiling and landed foul beyond the left-field wall in the first inning. But two pitches later, the Marlins slugger unleashed on the hanging slider that soared over the center-field wall to give the hosts their early two-run advantage.
After the first inning, Teheran and catcher Evan Gattis determined they would alter their game plan by feeding an abundance of fastballs to Stanton, who grounded into a double play in the third inning and popped out in the sixth inning.
"My slider wasn't working like I like to throw it," Teheran said. "That's when I made that mistake. [If I'm going to make] a mistake, I want to do it with my best pitch, I want to do it with my fastball. That's what I tried to do, the last two [at-bats against Stanton]."
Heyward and B.J. Upton began the game with consecutive singles, but Freddie Freeman followed with the first of his three strikeouts. Freeman has gone 0-for-28 with 12 strikeouts against the Marlins this season. He has batted .347 (60-for-173) against all other opponents.
The Braves put at least two runners on in five of the first six innings, but remained scoreless until the sixth, which began with a Justin Upton walk and a Gattis single. After Johnson followed with an RBI single, Gattis was doubled up on an Andrelton Simmons liner.
"For only getting three runs, I thought we hit the ball harder than in any other game this year," Gonzalez said. "We were hitting rockets right at people all night long."