SAN FRANCISCO – The Braves’ Julio Teheran had looked forward to evening the score with the Giants after giving up a career-high three homers against them in a May 3 loss in Atlanta.
Instead of getting even Wednesday, Teheran got rocked. He had difficulty gripping the ball and gave up seven hits, five runs (four earned) and five walks in 3 1/3 innings during an 10-4 loss at AT&T Park, where the Braves fell for the 10th time in 15 games, including five in six games against the Giants during that span.
Teheran (2-3) had his shortest career start and matched his career high for walks.
“They just kept coming,” said Braves third baseman Chris Johnson, who had an RBI double in a two-run first inning and another in the two-run when the Braves tied the score. “One of those days where they just kept tacking on runs.”
The Giants knocked around Teheran (2-3), who was staked to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on RBI doubles by Freddie Freeman and Johnson, but took only two batters for him to cough it up in the bottom of the inning — a Gregor Blanco leadoff walk followed by Hunter Pence’s two-run homer.
So began a three-run inning when San Francisco batted around and forced Teheran to throw 41 pitches. The loss was the Braves’ first in 15 games in which they scored first.
“I was having a hard time getting my grip,” Teheran said. “It’s something that happened, I couldn’t (find a solution).”
Teheran had such a hard time with his grip that a team trainer and manager Fredi Gonzalez went to the mound at one point in the first inning to make sure he was OK. Teheran said he’s had similar problems gripping the ball in other starts in California, including last year’s division series against the Dodgers.
“Every time I get places like Los Angeles and here, I have a hard time,” he said. “The same thing happened in the postseason last year that happened here today. I try to find a way to (fix it) because I know I’m going to be pitching on those fields a lot.”
The Giants scored a run in the second inning without benefit of a hit. Teheran walked Blanco again to start the inning and the former Braves outfielder stole second base, then stole third base and scored on catcher Evan Gattis’ errant throw.
“We went as far as we could with Julio, to try to give him an opportunity,” Gonzalez said. “The third inning was his best inning, he threw seven or eight pitches. We tie the game again, give him the opportunity to go back out there, maybe get through the bottom of the order and get us five innings. Then he gives up the lead again and by that time it was pretty much done.”
Blanco’s three steals matched his career high and the Giants’ San Francisco-era record.
Pence had four hits and three RBIs, and the Giants also got homers from Michael Morse (off Alex Wood) in the sixth inning and Brandon Crawford, whose two-run blast in the eighth off David Carpenter landed in McCovey Cove.
It was another rough day for Braves center fielder B.J. Upton, ejected by home-plate umpire Lance Barrett after disputing a called third strike in the sixth inning. He had consecutive three-strikeout games, and several questionable strike calls against him during the series brought his usual simmer to boil-over.
“Yeah, I think that was an accumulation of three days,” said Upton, who went 2-for-11 with a home run, a double and eight strikeouts in the series. “It’s not what I want to do. That was just kind of a reaction.”
Said Gonzalez: “I don’t know how much of it’s his fault You come back and look at some of the pitches, they’re not close. So go into the off day tomorrow, go on to the next series, the next (umpire) crew, and hopefully it’s a start over.”
Upton has 20 strikeouts in 37 at-bats over his past 12 games and is batting .207 with a majors-leading 51 strikeouts in 135 at-bats. He struck out in all three plate appearances Wednesday before becoming the first Braves player, coach or manager to be ejected this season, the second year in a row he’s had that dubious distinction.
“That’s just kind of the tag I’ve been given since I got called up,” Upton said when asked about being viewed as a complainer by some umpires. “I think I got tossed my first couple of weeks in the big leagues. I know why, but that was like nine or 10 years ago. That’s kind of been a goal of mine, to really not do that anymore. That’s something that I’ve really been working at the last couple of years. I haven’t really said anything this year, and it was one of those series where it just kind of got to the point where it just kind of happened.
“Like I said, it’s not really what I want to do. It’s not really a good example for kids and makes me look like a jackass.”
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