One day after Braves rookie Williams Perez continued to exceed expectations with six scoreless innings against the Red Sox, teammate Julio Teheran continued to fall short of them. Far short.
Teheran allowed a career-high 13 hits and six runs in 6 1/3 innings of a 9-4 loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Tuesday afternoon, snapping Boston’s seven-game skid and leading manager Fredi Gonzalez and pitching coach Roger McDowell to meet immediately afterward and discuss what’s wrong with their opening-day starter.
Teheran (4-3) is winless in his past five starts and 2-3 with a 5.68 ERA and .298 opponents’ average in his past 12 starts. He came unglued in one inning again Tuesday, this time a three-run sixth that broke open what had been a 2-2 score.
“Whether it’s the seventh inning or the eighth inning of a game he’s pitched well, or an inning where the game is tied or one-run and we just can’t keep it there,” Gonzalez said of Teheran’s failure to avoid big, damaging innings this season. “We need to do something against those left-handed hitters. They’re just wearing him out.”
Lefties batted .371 with a gaudy .524 slugging percentage against Teheran before Tuesday, when those numbers rose again. Among the lefties who hurt him most was Brock Holt, who hit for the cycle — single, double, triple, home run — to become the first Red Sox player to do that in 19 years.
He was the first player to do it against the Braves in nearly 30 years, since the Mets’ Keith Hernandez on July 4, 1985.
The Braves mustered only five hits and two runs in 6 1/3 innings against left-hander Wade Miley, who entered with a 5.07 ERA and matched a season high with eight strikeouts.
They advanced a runner past first base only once until the seventh inning, when the Braves chased Miley from the game with consecutive singles by Juan Uribe and Pedro Ciriaco. Trailing 5-2, the Braves failed to score when reliever Junichi Tazawa entered the game and coaxed a fly out from pinch-hitter A.J. Pierzynski and a pop out from Jace Peterson.
The Braves went 2-3 on a trip that began with a series loss against the Mets. They still haven’t won any of their past seven series, recording splits in a pair of four-game series and the two-game series at Boston, and losing all four of their three-game series in that span.
In an scheduling quirk ostensibly necessitated by baseball’s unbalanced schedule, the Braves and Red Sox now turn around and play another two-game series Wednesday and Thursday at Turner Field.
For Teheran, a 2014 All-Star and two-time opening-day starter, it was another alarming outing that pushed his overall ERA to 5.07 and his road ERA to a majors-worst 7.17. Opponents have hit .366 against him in eight road starts.
Holt had a double, single and homer in four at-bats against Teheran. He completed the cycle and kept it in the family, so to speak, by hitting an RBI triple in the eighth off Teheran’s cousin, Sugar Ray Marimon, who gave up two runs and four hits in one inning, including two triples.
“I don’t think I’m doing anything (different from last year), missing a little bit more,” said Teheran, who is 0-3 with an 8.10 ERA in his past seven road starts, with 56 hits and 11 homers allowed in 36 2/3 innings. “I feel the same, trying to throw in and out, change-up, my curveball, working the same way. I don’t know. That’s part of the game, sometimes you’re good, sometimes you try to do things the same way and it doesn’t work.”
Five pitches into the first inning, the Red Sox had a 1-0 lead after consecutive doubles by Holt and Mookie Betts. They pushed it to 2-0 when Pablo Sandoval grounded into a bases-loaded double play.
Teheran settled down and record 12 outs in 13 batters over the next four innings, with assistance via a 3-6-3 double play and from catcher Ryan Lavarnway, who threw out a base-stealer in the fifth in Lavarnway’s first start for Atlanta.
The Braves tied the score with two runs in the fourth after Cameron Maybin led off with a walk, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Freddie Freeman’s double. One out later, Nick Markakis drove in Freeman with a ground out.
It’s been one or two bad innings that have undermined Teheran in almost every start, and this time it was a three-run sixth. Mookie Betts led off with a triple, and after David Ortiz lined out, the Red Sox got four consecutive hits, including doubles by Mike Napoli and Alejandro De Aza, whose two-run, two-out hit pushed the lead to 5-2.
Holt hit a first-pitch homer with one out in the seventh inning, and Teheran was replaced after Betts followed with a single.
“He’ll be alright,” Braves third baseman Chris Johnson said of Teheran. “He’s a talented guy. He works hard, too. I don’t think anybody in here is worried about this being who Julio is. We know it’s not. He’s just going through a little bit of struggles.”
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