Medlen not the only Braves pitcher struggling lately

For more than two years, the Braves couldn’t lose when pitcher Kris Medlen started.

Now they can’t seem to win when the right-hander starts. And Medlen is suddenly having a lot of trouble keeping balls in the park.

He gave up eight hits, five runs (three earned), three homers and five walks in 5 1/3 innings of Sunday’s 5-1 loss at San Francisco, leaving Medlen with an 0-4 record and 4.70 ERA over his past five starts. He’s given up six homers in 24 2/3 innings over his past four starts, as many homers as he allowed in 138 total innings last season as a starter and reliever.

“Just terribly executed pitches on my part,” Medlen said of the home runs at San Francisco. “I’m just having trouble repeating (his delivery). I felt like my delivery was awesome the previous game in Cincinnati.

“I came in (Sunday) and it felt completely the opposite. I had no leg drive. I wasn’t driving toward the target.”

The Braves were outscored 23-4 while losing the last three games of the four-game Giants series. Tim Hudson and Paul Maholm each gave up eight hits and six earned runs in the Friday and Saturday games against the Giants, with Hudson lasting just 3 2/3 innings and Maholm 4 1/3.

Rookie Julio Teheran’s start in Thursday’s series opener (seven innings, seven hits, three runs, no walks) was exemplary by comparison.

“I think sometimes it’s just a matter of, you go through tough series,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Monday. “Medlen goes 5 2/3 and gives up three earned runs. If we score five runs, he gets the win. But it seems like if he gives up three, we don’t score any when he pitches. So it magnifies that stuff.

“What does concern me a little bit is the amount of pitches we’re going through. That’s more of a concern because those guys, usually with 100 pitches they’re getting into the seventh or eighth inning”

Braves starters’ ERA climbed to 3.93 before Monday, seventh in the National League.

Heyward continues rehab: The Braves might have Jason Heyward back from the disabled list for a homestand that begins Friday, but not before. He had an appendectomy April 22 and began a rehab stint with Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday.

Last week Gonzalez mentioned the possibility of Heyward returning for the series at Arizona that began Monday. But Heyward only served as designated hitter in his first three rehab games and the Braves wanted him to play a few games in right field, as he did Monday night, before he’s activated.

Beachy pitching plans: Eleven months into recovery from Tommy John elbow surgery, Braves pitcher Brandon Beachy is set to make his first start Tuesday and work two innings in an extended-spring training game in Florida. That will be followed Sunday with his first official rehab start for Triple-A Gwinnett, Gonzalez said.

The plan is for Beachy to make about six or seven starts, including Tuesday. He could be activated by mid- or late June.