The Atlanta Braves were putting together their best run in five weeks with a combination of unusually good hitting and solid pitching efforts.
Not even their strongest offensive performance in nearly five months could make up for the staff’s troubles in the series opener with the Miami Marlins.
Julio Teheran looks to help the Braves get back on track as he takes the hill Saturday night at Marlins Park.
Atlanta (62-92) won five of six behind a 2.04 ERA, and the majors’ lowest-scoring team scored six runs in each of the previous two.
The lineup shined again Friday with four runs in the first and a valiant comeback effort in the late innings, but it wasn’t enough in a 12-11 loss. The Braves scored their most runs since tying a season high with 12 on April 28 as Freddie Freeman, who is playing through a sore right wrist, hit a two-run homer and finished 3 for 4.
Hector Olivera and Michael Bourn also had three hits for Atlanta, which lost for the first time in seven games in Miami.
”We battled,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ”When you score four off of (Jose) Fernandez in the first inning, you feel pretty darn good, because he doesn’t (normally) give up four in three starts (combined).”
Teheran (10-7, 4.20 ERA) had one of the Braves’ best pitching performances during their hot stretch, tossing six perfect innings before leaving after 8 1-3 of a 2-1 walk-off win over Philadelphia on Sunday.
The right-hander is 1-0 with a 1.67 ERA in four starts this month while holding opponents to a .196 average and .556 OPS.
”Everything was working,” Teheran said. ”I was ahead in the count most of the day, and I was attacking hitters. That was the difference."
Teheran is 5-1 with a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts against the Marlins with the Braves winning all three this season. He’ll likely need another solid effort against Miami (67-87) to end its three-game winning streak.
The Marlins are 15-8 since Aug. 31, a stretch that began with a three-game sweep at Atlanta. Justin Bour had a three-run homer Friday and joined Dee Gordon, Christian Yelich and Miguel Rojas with three hits.
Martin Prado went 2 for 4 and drove in two runs after missing the previous six with a left wrist injury, and Jeff Mathis’ four RBIs also helped Fernandez become the first pitcher in the modern era to win his first 17 home decisions.
Miami looks to stay hot behind Justin Nicolino (3-4, 4.50), who pitched seven scoreless innings to beat the Braves on Sept. 1. He’s gone 0-2 with an 8.44 ERA in three starts since, though, and the rookie allowed a season-worst seven runs in a 13-3 loss at Washington on Sunday.
The left-hander departed after giving up a three-run homer with two outs in the sixth.
”That’s when you find out who you are as a pitcher,” Nicolino said. ”That’s when you find out what you have in that situation. After I made the first out, I made a few mistakes and they ended up costing me.”
Freeman went 1 for 3 off Nicolino earlier this month and is batting .327 with two homers and three doubles during a 12-game hitting streak at Marlins Park.