Unable to command his pitches efficiently in the first inning, Kevin Correia knew he was in trouble.
”I didn’t throw the ball real great tonight,” Correia said. ”As far as this season, I think that was the only start that I didn’t feel like I had good command of something I could go with.”
Correia had his shortest and least effective outing of the season, and the Minnesota Twins suffered their season-high sixth straight defeat in a 5-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Monday night.
Braves starter Julio Teheran (3-1) gave up five hits, one run — Josh Willingham’s homer in the ninth — and one walk. He struck out four, throwing 80 of his 123 pitches for strikes.
Cory Gearrin needed two pitches to earn his first career save on pinch-hitter Oswaldo Arcia’s flyout.
Before the ninth, the Twins scratched out just three hits against Teheran, a 22-year-old in his first full season.
”He didn’t give us much breathing room,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. ”We didn’t have too many shots at him. A nice performance by him and a frustrating one for us.”
The previous longest career outing for Teheran was seven innings, a mark he reached in a no-decision April 29 against Washington and a May 9 victory at San Francisco.
After rallying in the late innings to win three straight from the Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend, Atlanta jumped on Correia (4-4) early.
”He said it — his arm was dragging tonight,” Gardenhire said. ”He just couldn’t get the whip in it, couldn’t get the ball where he wanted to, I think. Normally he’s really good locating the baseball, and he was up.”
In the first, Freddie Freeman had an RBI single, and Uggla hit his eighth homer, a three-run shot, to make it 4-0.
Juan Francisco led off the fourth with a double, moved to third on Teheran’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Andrelton Simmons’ sacrifice fly for a 5-0 lead.
Correia had his shortest outing in nine starts this season. In four innings, he allowed eight hits, a season-high five runs and one walk.
Correia recorded no strikeouts for the first time this year and the first time as a starter since April 29, 2012, when he and the Pittsburgh Pirates lost in Atlanta.
”I didn’t have real good command of pretty much anything, really,” Correia said. ”I was kind of getting away with it there after the first. I was able to kind of weasel my way through a couple innings, I guess.”
Ryan Pressly pitched the fifth and sixth innings for Minnesota, allowing one walk and striking out one. Caleb Thielbar, recalled from Triple-A Rochester earlier in the day, worked the seventh and eighth, giving up a single on his first major league pitch and finishing with three strikeouts.
”A good performance – him coming in right off the airplane and jumped right in there,” Gardenhire said. ”A couple of big innings for us, which we desperately needed. That was a big couple innings. Gave us a chance. Kept us in the game.”
Teheran allowed a single to Justin Morneau in the first, faced the minimum in the second and gave up a leadoff single to Aaron Hicks in the third.
Morneau singled to begin the fourth and moved to second on a walk, but Teheran ended the threat with a flyout and a groundout.
Teheran held Minnesota to just one base runner — Willingham, who was hit by a pitch in the sixth — over the next four innings.
In his past five starts, the 22-year-old right-hander is 3-1 with a 2.41 ERA.
Teheran retired Morneau on a flyout to begin the ninth, but Willingham hit his sixth homer and Trevor Plouffe singled to end the pitcher’s night.
Luis Avilan faced the next two batters. Chris Parmelee singled and pinch-hitter Ryan Doumit flew out before Gearrin retired Arcia.
”You get behind early and try to finagle your way through as best you can,” Gardenhire said. ”We got some men out there a couple times late; we still couldn’t come up with one more big hit.”
Notes: Minnesota made its first regular-season visit to Turner Field and its first trip to Atlanta since the 1991 World Series. … The Braves announced during the game that LHP Eric O’Flaherty will undergo season-ending elbow ligament replacement surgery on Tuesday. The news wasn’t unexpected for O’Flaherty, the eighth-inning specialist who went on the disabled list Saturday with a torn ligament. … Atlanta RHP Tim Hudson, Tuesday’s scheduled starter, is 0-2 with an 11.42 ERA in his past two starts. … RHP Mike Pelfrey will pitch for Minnesota and is 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA in his past two starts.