“He had good stuff tonight,” Braves left fielder Justin Upton said. “He flat-out beat us.”
Asked if it were hard to believe Hamels led the league in losses, Johnson said, “Yes, very hard. He’s nasty. He was throwing all his pitches for strikes. I mean, there was one at-bat where he threw me a different pitch every single pitch.”
The win was just the fourth in 21 games for the Phillies, while the Braves lost for only the fourth time in 21 games.
Hamels has a 1.86 ERA in his past eight starts, with a modest 3-2 record in that span due to poor run support.
“He had all his pitches working tonight,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He had command of his fastball, his cutter, his change-up he threw any time he wanted. A couple times he threw it on 3-2 pitches. He did a nice job. I’m glad we were able to score a run there in the ninth inning.”
Upton hit a leadoff double in the ninth and scored when Johnson bounced a double over the right-field fence.
Leadoff man Jason Heyward had two of the Braves’ six hits, and Hamels didn’t face more than four batters in any inning until the ninth.
“Obviously as the game went on you saw him get more comfortable,” Upton said. “We didn’t get to him early and make him deviate from his plan, so he got comfortable and he started being able to do what he wanted to do.”
In his first loss in five starts, Teheran (9-6) gave up six hits, four runs and one walk in six innings. It was the first time the rookie allowed more than one run in his past five starts, and the fourth time in his past 11. He had a 2.10 ERA in 10 starts before Monday, and was 2-0 with 1.13 ERA in his past four.
“I had my good stuff,” Teheran said. “I think it was just one pitch (the Asche homer). I won’t call it a mistake, because that was the pitch I wanted to make, and I think it was in a good spot. Fastball in.”
After a 1-hour, 48-minute rain delay before the first pitch, Jimmy Rollins led off the first inning with a double. Teheran retired the next seven batters before Hamels tripled to the left-center gap with one out in the third inning, just beyond the outstretched glove of center fielder B.J. Upton.
Rollins followed with a single for a 1-0 lead, the game’s only scoring until the sixth inning.
After Chase Utley singled to start the sixth, Teheran hit Darin Ruf with a pitch. Asche followed and hit a line drive to the right-field seats, his second homer in 13 games since being called up from Triple-A.
“That sequence of those two hitters kind of messed up his whole night,” Gonzalez said. “The curveball got away from him and hit Ruf, and then a ball that you try to go in off the plate on him and I think it just leaked back over the plate.”
Before Monday, the Phillies hit .194 with 21 total runs and a 6.65 ERA during their 11-game road losing streak.
“It’s a good club. It really is,” Gonzalez said of the fourth-place Phillies (53-65). “You look at the names up and down the lineup, it’s a good club. And the guy on the mound today made the big difference for them. He may be the best (5-13) pitcher we’ve faced all year. He was good. You’ve got to give him some credit tonight.”
Hamels threw 123 pitches and issued one walk, and several of his strikeouts came at key junctures. After Brian McCann hit a leadoff double in the second inning and advanced on a groundout, Hamels struck out Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton to make Upton a majors-worst 1-for-40 with runners in scoring position and two outs.
“We didn’t get a productive out there,” Gonzalez said, “and maybe that changes the whole complexion of the game, us getting a run there. But that didn’t happen.”
B.J. Upton grounded hard into an inning-ending double play with two on in the seventh, dropping his overall average with runners in scoring position to .096 (7-for-73), also the majors’ lowest.
Uggla went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts, raising his NL-leading strikeout total to 146 and lowering his average to .186, lowest among major leaguers with enough plate appearances to qualify. The second baseman is 4-for-57 with no homers, nine walks and 22 strikeouts in his past 16 games.