Julio Teheran realized he was working on a no-hitter against Pittsburgh after the fifth inning.
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He tried to put the thought out of his head so he could keep doing what was working.
Teheran held Pittsburgh without a hit for 7 2-3 innings before settling for a combined one-hit shutout, and the Atlanta Braves beat the Pirates 5-0 on Wednesday.
Only 22, he took another big step in his breakthrough season. Tehran (4-2) gave up one hit with two walks and set a career high with 11 strikeouts in eight innings in the Braves’ fifth straight win, including a sweep of the three-game series.
”I feel like he’s comfortable,” said Braves right fielder Jason Heyward, who had two hits. ”He’s not trying to pitch his way onto the team. He’s going out there competing as a part of the team.”
Pinch-hitter Brandon Inge broke up Teheran’s no-hit bid by hitting a fastball for a single to left field with two outs in the eighth. Teheran received an ovation from Braves fans, who also cheered after the inning ended on Starling Marte’s pop-up.
”The thing is, for someone like me sitting across on the other side, sitting for eight innings, I basically get to scout him for eight innings,” Inge said.
”I couldn’t see exactly what he was throwing, but I could see what he was getting guys out with. It was just a great game he pitched. … I tip my hat to him. He did an excellent job. Handled it well, too.”
David Carpenter pitched a perfect ninth to complete the combined one-hitter.
Evan Gattis and Gerald Laird hit back-to-back homers in the sixth.
Pittsburgh’s Wandy Rodriguez (6-4) left the game with tightness in his left forearm after recording only one out in the first inning.
Rodriguez, a left-hander, pointed to his forearm when visited by manager Clint Hurdle and a trainer. After a brief discussion on the mound, Rodriguez was removed from the game.
Instead of accompanying the team to Chicago for a series against the Cubs, Rodriguez returned to Pittsburgh to be examined.
Rodriguez gave up two hits and a run and hit Freddie Freeman with his 14th and final pitch.
The Pirates have lost three straight and five of six.
Bryan Morris replaced Rodriguez and gave up no runs on three walks in 3 2-3 innings.
Teheran was sharp from the start. Only 28 of his 107 pitches were balls, and he set a career high in strikeouts for the second straight start after fanning nine in a 3-2 loss to Washington on Friday.
Teheran said he relied on his slider.
”They maybe were looking for my two-seamer that I’ve been throwing a lot but I didn’t use,” he said. ”I just keep them off-balance.”
Teheran said no teammates talked to him in the dugout about the no-hit bid.
”No, nobody,” he said. ”It’s something nobody can tell me. Just let it happen.”
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he would have left Teheran in the game for the ninth if he had a chance to complete the no-hitter.
”You don’t want to run a young pitcher to 135 pitches just to try to get a no-hitter,” he said.
Teheran didn’t allow a baserunner until Russell Martin walked with two outs in the fifth. Clint Barmes then popped out to end the inning.
Teheran hit Marte with a pitch with one out in the sixth but ended the inning by catching Marte with his pickoff throw to first base.
Gattis gave Atlanta a 2-0 lead by hitting an 0-2 pitch from Vin Mazzaro about halfway up the lower section of left-field seats for his 13th homer, easily the most for any rookie in the majors. Laird followed with his first homer, also to left field.
The Braves added a run off Jared Hughes in the seventh. Jason Heyward and Chris Johnson had singles, and Heyward scored from second base when Freeman hit a fielder’s choice grounder to first base. Johnson was out on Garrett Jones’ throw to second, but Hughes missed Clint Barmes’ throw to first for an error.
Hughes loaded the bases by walking Gattis and hitting Laird with a pitch. Dan Uggla’s fly ball to shallow center fell off the glove of a charging Andrew McCutchen, allowing Freeman to score for a 5-0 lead.
Kent Mercker threw the Braves’ last no-hitter against the Dodgers on April 8, 1994. No Braves pitcher has thrown a no-hitter at Turner Field.
NOTES: Laird’s homer was his first since May 28, 2012, for Detroit at Boston. … The last pitcher to no-hit the Pirates was Cincinnati’s Homer Bailey on Sept. 28, 2012, also the last no-hitter in the majors. … The Braves completed a 7-2 homestand to improve to 21-7 at home. … The Pirates are off Thursday and open a three-game series at the Cubs on Friday when LHP Francisco Liriano faces Chicago LHP Travis Wood. … The Braves open a four-game series at the Dodgers on Thursday night when RHP Tim Hudson faces RHP Zack Greinke.