Twins-Braves Preview

The Atlanta Braves’ pitching staff has been pretty stingy

lately, and that may bode well heading into a series against a

slumping Minnesota Twins team that’s struggling to score.

Atlanta seeks to win a fourth straight game while dealing

visiting Minnesota a sixth consecutive defeat Monday night.

The Braves (25-18) had lost five of six going into the weekend,

but completed a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers with a

5-2 victory Sunday, scoring four runs in the eighth inning.

Mike Minor struck out nine and the bullpen pitched three

scoreless innings, giving Atlanta a 2.25 ERA over its last six


”We lost a lot of games we felt we should have won,” Minor

said. “We came back in another one from behind and got the


The Braves overcame late deficits in all three games, outscoring

the Dodgers 13-2 from the sixth inning on.

”We’ve been slow out of the gate as an offense (over the last

three games), and (the pitching staff has) been able to keep us in

the ballgame and keep runs off the board,” said left fielder

Justin Upton, 3 for 18 in his last five. ”That’s important in

giving us a shot to win.”

Julio Teheran (2-1, 4.57 ERA), who has posted a 2.84 ERA over

his last four outings after getting off to a rough start to the

season, will look to continue the trend. He gave up two runs in six

innings Tuesday but lost 2-0 to Arizona.

“He’s making adjustments in the middle of the game and he’s

making changes when he needs to. That’s a good sign,” catcher

Gerald Laird told the team’s official website.

The right-hander, who suffered his first defeat since falling to

Philadelphia in his major league debut May 5, 2011, had gotten 18

runs of support in his previous four starts.

Teheran has never faced Minnesota and his only start versus an

AL opponent was a short one, as he gave up four runs in 4 1-3

innings of a 12-4 loss to Toronto on June 10.

The Twins (18-22) have been struggling offensively, though,

getting outscored 33-14 during their skid. Joe Mauer had his

15-game hitting streak snapped in a 5-1 loss to Boston on


”We didn’t really come up with key hits when we needed to or

when we wanted to,” said outfielder Chris Parmelee, 1 for 13 in

his last four. ”It’s tough to win a ballgame when you don’t have

any clutch hits.”

Minnesota went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position.

“These games, they happen throughout the season and it’s

something you’ve got to deal with,” said third baseman Trevor

Plouffe, who had two of the Twins’ five hits to extend his hitting

streak to six.

The Twins’ Kevin Correia (4-3, 3.35) is looking to snap out of a

funk. The right-hander went 3-1 with a 2.23 ERA in his first five

starts but has posted a 5.71 ERA in three outings this month.

He allowed four runs and nine hits in seven innings of a 4-2

loss to the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday, giving up the go-ahead

runs in the eighth before exiting.

The right-hander has been solid in his last four starts versus

the Braves, going 3-1 with a 2.35 ERA. He gave up one run in 6 2-3

innings of a 5-1 win while pitching for Pittsburgh the last time he

faced them Oct. 2.