Julio Teheran struck out a career-high nine batters in Friday's series opener with the Washington Nationals, but the Atlanta Braves couldn't support him despite getting into the Nats' bullpen early in a 3-2 loss at Turner Field.
Stephen Strasburg was forced out of the game after just two innings with an oblique strain, seemingly giving the Braves a potentially easier time by getting to Washington's bullpen, but Craig Stammen threw four perfect innings.
Freddie Freeman hit a solo homer off Strasburg in the second, which was the only run the Braves scored off him. He also drove in the only other Atlanta run with an RBI-single off Tyler Clippard in the seventh. All told, the Braves only scratched out four hits – two a piece from Ramiro Pena and Freeman – but struck out 10 times (again).
"With Strasburg going out, we thought we had a better chance, but Craig Stammen came in and just shut us down," Freeman said on braves.com.
The Braves were unable to take advantage of anything else in that seventh inning despite Clippard's having a myriad of mistakes. After Freeman's single, Clippard loaded the bases by hitting Evan Gattis and Brian McCann. With the tying run on third and the winning run in scoring position with one out, Dan Uggla and Chris Johnson struck out to end the inning.
Teheran took a tough loss while striking out nine over 6 2/3 innings. It was the fourth time in his last five starts that Teheran has pitched into the seventh inning and has given up three runs or fewer in each of his last seven.
Denard Span led off the game with a triple to right and was driven in by Steve Lombardozzi's sacrifice fly. They'd also do the same thing in the sixth inning. The only other run Teheran gave up came in the second when Roger Bernadina and Danny Espinosa squeaked out consecutive one-out singles. Bernadina scored when Kurt Suzuki hit into a fielder's choice.
"It wasn't bad pitches," Teheran said. "I made my pitches, and [Span] got me."
The Braves can take comfort that they face Gio Gonzalez Saturday night. He is 2-3 with a 6.75 lifetime ERA against the Braves.Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Baseball, Craig Stammen, Dan Uggla, Denard Span, Freddie Freeman, Julio Teheran, MLB, Ramiro Pena, Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals