ATLANTA (AP) — Julio Teheran found his go-to slider for the first time since the Braves moved into their new home last season.
Teheran outpitched Aaron Nola for a rare night of success at SunTrust Park and Atlanta snapped the Philadelphia Phillies’ six-game winning streak with a 2-1 victory Monday night.
Teheran (1-1) allowed one run, five hits and three walks with nine strikeouts in six innings. He began the night 3-10 with a 6.20 ERA and 21 homers allowed in 19 starts at the Braves’ second-year stadium, but Teheran kept the Phillies guessing.
“I used a lot of my slider and my fastball,” Teheran said. “I was thinking first strike and I was doing really good. Whenever I throw a first-pitch strike, it’s different then. That’s something I’ve really been working on.”
Teheran has been trying for two years to make his slider the swing-and-missing offering that used to bolster his repertoire. He recalled Monday that hitters used to swing through it, even when they know it was coming.
“It’s easy whenever you have a pitch like that that you can throw in there and you have the confidence to throw it 3-2,” Teheran said. “That’s something I did a lot. It was an advantage for me.”
After setup man A.J. Minter escaped a shaky eighth, Atlanta became the last team in the majors to record a save as closer Arodys Vizcaino retired two of the first three batters he faced and ended it on Carlos Santana’s groundout.
Nola (1-1) gave up four hits, two runs and two walks in six innings. The Phillies’ 24-year-old ace struck out two in a solid outing that wasn’t good enough for a right-hander who has held opponents to a .182 average over his last six starts dating to Sept. 13.
“Teheran threw a good game,” Nola said. “I think all their pitchers did. It was one nights where obviously in low-scoring games are hard-fought for both teams.”
Kurt Suzuki’s sacrifice fly in the fourth inning scored Ozzie Albies to put the Braves up 2-1. Suzuki hit the ball to shallow center field, where Odubel Herrera pulled up to let strong-armed right fielder Aaron Altherr make the play. Albies’ beat Altherr’s throw with a headfirst slide, and the 5-foot-8 second baseman’s helmet flew off as he dashed past catcher Jorge Alfaro’s tag attempt.
“I wasn’t seeing the play happen because the third baseman was in front of me,” Albies said. “When I saw one of them was confused, I said, ‘I’m going.'”
Albies went 2 for 3 and is hitting .426 in 47 at-bats since beginning his first full season 2 for 20.
The Phillies were trying for their first seven-game winning streak since Sept. 5-12, 2012.
Herrera’s first homer of the season made it 1-0 in the first. Atlanta made it 1-1 in the bottom half of the inning when Ender Inciate walked, stole second, advanced to third on Albies’ single and scored on a double-play grounder by Freddie Freeman.
Teheran stranded a runner in scoring position in the third, fourth and sixth innings with a strikeout each.
He improved to 9-6 with a 3.43 ERA in 20 career starts and one relief appearance against Philadelphia.
TIMETABLE UNCLEAR FOR ACUNA
Atlanta seems in no hurry for OF Ronald Acuna to make his debut. Acuna, rated the No. 2 overall prospect by MLB.com , is hitting .152 with no homers and no RBIs in 33 at-bats at Triple-A Gwinnett. Manager Brian Snitker said he likes what the team has gotten from LF Preston Tucker, who began the night hitting .300 with three homers and 12 RBIs, so the 20-year-old Acuna may not get called up during this seven-game homestand.
Phillies: RHP Mark Leiter Jr. threw his first bullpen session since landing on the disabled list March 29 with a right forearm strain. … RHP Pat Neshek, 10 days after taking a cortisone shot to help a right shoulder strain, played catch. … RHP Tommy Hunter will throw a simulated game in extended spring training Tuesday and could be activated in a couple of days.
Braves: C Tyler Flowers, on the DL since March 30 with a left oblique strain, took a day off from hitting, but he did some defensive work. Snitker said Flowers is still a day or two away from taking live batting practice. … 3B Johan Camargo, sidelined since March 13 with a right oblique strain, has homered in three of the last five games with Triple-A Gwinnett, but he’ll stay there at least through this week with 3B Ryan Flaherty leading the NL with a .366 batting average.
Phillies: RHP Nick Pivetta (1-0) has a 2.70 ERA in three starts this season. He is 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA in three career starts against Atlanta.
Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (1-1) has a 2.93 ERA in three starts this season. He is 3-2 with a 4.39 ERA in seven career starts and one relief appearance against the Phillies.
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