Braves’ Julio Teheran slowly regaining form

Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker pulls Julio Teheran from the game during the fourth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays in a MLB baseball game on Thursday, May 18, 2017, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
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Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker pulls Julio Teheran from the game during the fourth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays in a MLB baseball game on Thursday, May 18, 2017, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Julio Teheran looks to have found his footing at SunTrust Park.

He faced one over the minimum through seven shutout innings against the Giants on Tuesday night. Things came unraveled in the eighth. Giants rookie Austin Slater planted a two-seam fastball into the stands to give San Francisco a 3-2 lead and an eventual 6-3 win.

“That’s baseball,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He (Teheran) was really good. He was just dealing and that was a weird inning in the eighth. He gets a mis-hit ball, a double play ball. We didn’t execute enough in that inning, really, to get him out of it. I was hoping he would put the ball on the ground and get another double play. It was really just unfortunate because he threw so good. He maximized his pitches. He did a great job.”

Teheran’s final line – 7 1/3 innings, three earned runs – qualifies as his worst home start in his last three outings, though it was his longest showing of the season.

Including Tuesday, he’s allowed four runs over his last 19 1/3 innings at SunTrust. Good for a 1.86 ERA.

“I’m happy with the way I was controlling the game,” Teheran said. “The last inning, something happened … but nothing that I can do. It’s part of the game. So it’s not really frustrating, just part of the game. Just got to look for the next one and see if I can do the same thing. But I think I did very good.”

Much was made of Teheran’s early home struggles. After Teheran’s first five home starts, he owned a 10.50 ERA. His road ERA in that span: 0.71.

Entering Tuesday, those discrepancies weren’t much better. Teheran was 5-0 with a 2.89 ERA on the road; 1-4 with a 7.25 ERA at home. But his recent displays have provided optimism.

“I’ve been using more of my fastball,” Teheran said. “As you can see, I don’t start using my breaking ball till the third or fourth inning. I’m just taking advantage of my fastball, using more of my two-seamers, it’s been really good the last couple starts. That’s why I’ve been attacking with it more … I feel like I’m (getting myself) where I want to be the rest of the season. Today was a good game. Even though I got the loss I feel that I did pretty good.”

While the splits are still glaring, Teheran’s overall body of work his last six starts resembles last season’s performance. Since May 24, Teheran is 3-1 with a 3.82 ERA, with that number elevated by a seven-run clunker in Cincinnati.

Snitker said he thinks his pitcher is crawling out of his funk.

“It’s been really good,” Snitker said. “He’s kind of like back to his old self. He’s keeping the ball down, he’s working both sides of the plate. His off speed stuff is good. He’s pitching a lot with his fastball. He’s locating which he didn’t do before. He’s keeping it down. That’s good. He’s being very aggressive and on the attack. He’s doing a great job.”

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