Braves lose to Phillies, Teheran remains winless at home

All-Star and three-time Braves opening-day starter Julio Teheran has started 12 home games this season, and the Braves have lost 11 of them. Even for a team with baseball’s worst record, that’s hard to fathom.

Pitcher Jeremy Hellickson’s two-run ground ball double down the third-base line in the fifth inning — a ball that didn’t bounce cleanly off the wall in foul territory — put the Phillies ahead to stay in a 9-5 win against the Braves at Turner Field.

It was the Phillies’ sixth win in their past seven games against the Braves, who need a win Sunday to salvage a split of the four-game series. it was a 5-3 game until the Phillies scored four runs in a ragged eighth inning that included two infield errors, a bases-loaded walk by reliever Hunter Cervenka, and a bases-loaded hit batsmen by reliever Ryan Weber.

“Just that one inning kind of got away from us,” Braves interim manager Brian Snitker said. “It just didn’t happen in that inning, pretty much.”

Working on a full week of rest since leaving his last start with back tightness, Teheran (3-9) lasted five innings and was charged with five hits, three runs and one walk with four strikeouts.

“Stuff wasn’t as crisp, obviously,” Snitker said. “Velocity was down. I think they looked at him after the game and it’s more just fatigue than anything.”

He set down eight consecutive batters before giving up singles to Cameron Rupp and Cody Asche start the fifth inning.

One out later, Hellickson’s double gave the Phillies a 3-2 lead.

“He pitched well,” said Braves left fielder Jace Peterson, who had three hits including a first-inning leadoff double. “Really, that (Hellickson double) is just kind of a weird play. The ball kicked to the left and gets stuck under the wall. Unfortunately it’s baseball and it happens. Just one of those things.”

This was Teheran’s first start since July 22 at Colorado, when he worked four scoreless innings before leaving after facing one batter in the fifth due to tightness in the latissimus dorsi area behind and below his pitching shoulder.

“I didn’t feel anything at all (in the lat area Saturday),” Teheran said. “I didn’t feel anything like I felt in the last game, that’s good to know. Just one mistake, throwing a breaking ball to the pitcher. I was doing OK to that point.”

After Teheran gave up a run on two hits in the second inning including a leadoff double by Ryan Howard, the Braves took the lead with two runs in the third inning on four singles, including run-scoring two-out hits by Nick Markakis and Adonis Garcia.

Hellickson (8-7) was charged with nine hits in three runs in 5 2/3 innings, after going 3-1 with a 1.89 ERA and .193 opponents’ average in his previous six starts and allowing one or no earned runs in five of those games. The Phillies have won six of his past seven starts.

After taking a 3-2 lead in the fifth, the Phillies added two runs in the sixth inning against left-hander Eric O’Flaherty, who retired the first batter and then gave up a walk, single, hit-by-pitch and two-run single to Freddy Galvis.

The Braves got a run in the sixth on Anthony Recker’s two-out single, after Adonis Garcia walked and Ender Inciarte singled to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. Pinch-hitter Brandon Snyder struck out with two on to end the inning. The Braves also stranded two runners in the third inning when Inciarte struck out.

For Teheran, three runs in five innings marked the first time he allowed more than two earned runs or lasted fewer than 6 2/3 innings against the Phillies since 2013. He had not faced them this season until Saturday, after going 5-1 with a 1.20 ERA in eight starts against them in the 2014-2015 seasons.

Teheran is 1-2 with a 2.56 ERA in his past seven starts, with 35 strikeouts and five walks in 45 2/3 innings. In that span only two of his starts have been on regular (four days’) rest. Due to off days, injuries – thigh infection, back tightness – and the All-Star break, his other starts in that period were on five days, six days, and three times on a full week of rest.

He has a 2.81 ERA this season but a losing record due mainly to the majors’ worst run support – the Braves scored 2.85 runs per nine innings pitched by Teheran before Saturday. The lack of support has been even more acute at home.

Saturday was the 10th time the Braves scored two or fewer runs while Teheran was in the game in his 12 home starts this season, and the 13th time that’s happened in his 15 home starts since Sept. 1. He’s 1-5 with a 2.70 ERA in that stretch of 15 home starts, including 0-5 with a 3.07 in 12 starts this season.