NEW YORK – The Braves scored more in a five-run first inning Wednesday night against the Mets than they had scored while Julio Teheran was in a game in all but three of his 30 starts in 2016. And they did it against the team that Teheran has required the least amount of support when facing lately.
Teheran allowed only two hits before the seventh inning and Tyler Flowers matched a career high with four RBIs including a three-run double in the first inning for the Braves, who snapped a six-game losing streak with a 8-2 win against the Mets at Citi Field.
“That gives you all the confidence when we start the game with five runs,” said Teheran, who allowed four hits and two runs in 6 1/3 innings with four walks and four strikeouts. I think that was the big thing for me, since the first inning we were winning. Nothing to worry about, just trying to go out there and make pitches and let them put the ball in play.
“I know I gave up a couple of walks, but I was ahead of hitters and making pitches.”
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It was the second-most runs by the Braves this season and only the second time they scored more than five runs. They out-hit the Mets 16-5, and five runs in the first inning were two more than the Braves had scored in any inning in their first 18 games before Wednesday.
“We’ve been waiting for that, to have an offensive game,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It was good to see. Scored the five, then even just adding on the single (runs) is big in a game like this, because against this (Mets) lineup it can get away from you in a hurry.”
The Mets didn’t get a hit until the fourth inning against Teheran (2-1), who improved to 4-0 with a 0.91 ERA in his past seven starts against the Mets and has a 5-2 record and 2.39 ERA in 10 career starts at Citi Field.
“Now that I’ve seen the results I love pitching here,” Teheran said, smiling. “Hopefully I get everything together for my next starts and do the same thing to the other teams. That’s what it’s about.”
Teheran was coming off his worst start of the season a week ago against the Nationals, when he gave up seven runs in four innings including a pair of homers by Bryce Harper. His scheduled start Tuesday was pushed back by a rainout.
He issued four walks, the fourth time in five starts that Teheran’s had at least three walks, but he allowed only one of those free passes to lead to a run.
Hot-hitting second baseman Brandon Phillips left the game after the first inning with a groin strain that occured when he slid on an attempted stolen base. He was listed as day-to-day and manager Brian Snitker said he didn’t think the injury was serious and that Phillips hoped to be back in the lineup for a weekend series that starts Friday in Milwaukee.
Ender Inciarte led off the first inning with a walk and Phillips had a single to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. Phillips was thrown out trying to steal second with runners on the corners and Freeman batting, but the next four reached on a Freeman walk, RBI singles from Matt Kemp and Nick Markakis and a throwing error on an Adonis Garcia grounder.
Freeman was initially called out trying to score from second on Markakis’ hit to left field, but the Braves challenged and the ruling was overturned after replays showed Freeman adroitly slide inside the plate and around the tag.
With bases loaded, Flowers doubled to drive in three runs and push the lead to 5-0 as the crowd began to boo Mets starter Robert Gsellman, who gave up six runs (five earned) and a career-high 10 hits in four innings in his 11th major league start.
“Always nice to cash in on a potential big innings,” Flowers said. “Seems like a lot of times we don’t come up with that big hit at the right time, or the big play kind of thing. So it’s definitely nice to do that, especially early, especially with Julio pitching.”
The Braves got five runs on four hits and two walks in the first inning and chased Gsellman in the fifth after three consecutive singles to start the inning from Markakis, Garcia and Flowers, the latter driving in a run to extend the lead to 6-1.
Teheran had the rare opportunity to bat before he threw a pitch, his line-out to second base ending the first inning after the Braves batted around. Staked to the kind of lead he rarely got a year ago, Teheran pitched as if determined not to squander any part of it.
Jay Bruce’s leadoff double in the second inning accounted for the Mets’ only base runner through three innings. After they loaded the bases with none out in the fourth on a leadoff walk and a pair of singles, Teheran got out of the inning giving up only one run on a sacrifice fly by Neil Walker.
“He got in a couple of jams,” Snitker said, “(and) to have the bases loaded and nobody out and give up one run, that’s a victory in that inning, especially where he was in the lineup. He did a really good job.”
Teheran was 7-10 with a 3.21 ERA in his 2016 All-Star season, when the Braves gave him a total of 70 support runs in 30 starts, a rate of 3.35 per nine innings pitched that was the lowest among National League starters.