This is how it’s gone for Julio Teheran since the beginning of September, so there probably was no reason to think anything would change when he faced the defending World Series champions. Nothing did.
Teheran gave up four hits and two runs, only one of them earned, in seven innings Friday night, but the result was another defeat for him and for the Braves, whose franchise-worst start continued with a 5-1 loss to Kansas City in a series opener at Kauffman Stadium.
“That’s a hell of an outing by him,” said manager Fredi Gonzalez, whose Braves have lost 17 of 21 games and fell to 8-26, tied with the 1911 team for worst start in franchise history through 34 games. “If he keeps pitching the way he’s been pitching he’s going to be OK. You can’t ask for a better performance than that, really.”
Teheran, who had three walks and five strikeouts, has allowed two or fewer runs in six of eight starts and remains winless (0-4) with a 3.17 ERA. He’s given up two or fewer runs in 12 of 14 starts since Sept. 1 — one or no earned runs in eight of them — yet has just a 2-5 record to show for a 2.47 ERA in that stretch.
“Just trying to keep going forward,” Teheran said. “I know the team has been kind of slow, but we’re just getting everything right, day by day. I’m just trying to concentrate on my job and that’s what I’m going to focus on.”
Teheran is 0-2 with a 1.44 ERA in his past five starts, including four team losses.
“He’s fun (to catch),” Braves catcher Tyler Flowers said. “He’s good. I mean, that’s no easy lineup over there, and we did not have very good command, honestly, mostly all day. So to do that, that’s impressive right there. That’s one of your bad days and you’re able to do that and keep us in that game that deep.”
After the Braves scored a run in the seventh inning on two singles and an Eric Aybar sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 2-1, rookie Hunter Cervenka gave up a run in the eighth on a walk and two singles, ending his scoreless innings streak at 15. That was the longest such streak to start a career in Atlanta franchise history.
Cervenka was charged with two more runs when Salvador Perez hit a two-out single off reliever Alexi Ogando.
The Braves got off to a rough start when Jeff Francoeur, starting in right field for just the second time this season, aggressively pursued Alcides Escobar’s leadoff single in the first inning. The ball caromed off his glove and behind him, allowing Escobar to reach third.
The Royals did what they usually do in that situation, scoring when Lorenzo Cain followed with a groundout for a 1-0 lead. They added a run on Escobar’s RBI single in the second inning, after Cheslor Cuthbert doubled with one out and No. 9 hitter Paulo Orlando was hit in the shoulder by a pitch with two out.
It was only the ninth win for the Royals in their past 25 games, and their pitching woes – 4.76 ERA in their past 24 games, 6.59 ERA in last five before Friday – weren’t apparent against the Braves, who were shut out until the seventh inning, have 52 runs in 21 games, and rank last in the majors with 102 runs all season.
Royals starter Edinson Volquez (4-3) allowed six hits and one run in seven innings, with no walks and two strikeouts.
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