The night started dreadfully for the Braves when rookie shortstop Johan Camargo injured a knee running onto the field before the first pitch Tuesday, and things didn’t get appreciably better from there for the home team against their unlikely nemesis, the Philadelphia Phillies.
Julio Teheran gave up five runs in five innings and dropped his eighth consecutive home decision in a 5-2 loss to the Phillies, who came in with the worst record in the majors and proceeded to beat the Braves for the 10th time in 12 games.
The Phillies are 31-67 against everyone else. The Braves have lost 15 of 21 since climbing to .500 after 90 games.
Freddie Freeman his a first-inning home run to stake Teheran to a 1-0 lead, but the Phillies got two runs in the fourth inning and three in the fifth to cruise to their fifth consecutive win against the Braves in the opener of a two-game series at SunTrust Park.
Camargo sustained a bone bruise when he hyperextended his right knee while reaching down to grab some dirt on the first-base line as he trotted onto the field as he does before the first inning each game. He appeared to get his cleat stuck and crumpled to the ground, writhing there for a minute before being helped off the field
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“That’s a first. I’ve never seen that,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “What a way to start the day.”
Teheran said, “I didn’t know until I threw my first (warmup) pitch, and I saw (nobody at their positions) and said, where’s the rest of the guys? I saw that everybody was on the first-base line. It was weird. You walk onto the field and get hurt. That’s something that’s not a good sign.”
Camargo was placed on the 10-day disabled list after the game and Dansby Swanson was expected to be recalled from Triple-A.
Besides Freeman’s 21st homer, the other highlight for the Braves was the major league debut of left-hander Max Fried, who came on in relief to start the eighth inning and issued a five-pitch walk to Cameron Rupp before retiring the next three on a strikeout and two ground-outs while displaying a devastating curveball.
Fried retired five in a row before an Odubel Herrera two-out double in the ninth, then issued an intentional walk before Nick Williams reached on an infield hit and Herrera was thrown out by Freeman trying to score.
Teheran (7-10) gave up seven hits, five runs and three walks with six strikeouts in five innings, the back-breaker a two-run homer by Odubel Herrera in the fifth inning on a 0-2 breaking ball that was only inches off the ground when Herrera managed to golf it over the right-field wall.
“That was the pitch I wanted to throw,” Teheran said. “I don’t know how he hit that ball. He’s pretty good but that was a pretty good pitch, too. There’s nothing I can do with that, it cost me (two) runs right there.”
It was the career-high 28th homer allowed by Teheran, all in his past 20 starts.
“I don’t know how that guy hit that ball,” Snitker said. “I mean, that almost bounced and he hit it out. That’s just kind of the way it’s been going. If he would’ve taken it, the catcher wouldn’t have caught it more than likely.”
Teheran is 1-8 with a majors-worst 7.08 ERA in 12 home starts, compared to 6-2 with a 3.57 ERA in 11 road starts. After allowing two runs in six innings to win the Braves’ home opener against the Padres, he’s 0-8 with a 7.51 ERA in his past 11 home starts with 67 hits, 47 earned runs and 15 homers allowed in 56 1/3 innings.
His eight consecutive home losses ties a franchise record set by Craig McMurtry in 1984 and matched by Shelby Miller in 2015.
In his past 20 starts home and road, Teheran is 6-10 with with a 5.98 ERA and 28 homers surrendered in 111 1/3 innings. His previous career high of 27 homers came in 200 2/3 innings in 2015.
In his past three starts against the Phillies, Teheran has allowed 24 hits and 19 runs in 13 2/3 innings, including a pair of losses this season. He gave up eight runs and three homers in 4 2/3 innings of a 10-3 loss July 28 at Philadelphia.
The Braves won their last seven games against the Phillies in 2016, but this year they’ve lost 10 of 12 against them. The Braves are 2-10 against the team with the majors’ worst record and 3-4 against the Dodgers, who have the best record.
The Braves have handed the Dodgers their only three losses since July 4 and gone 0-5 against the Phillies in that period.
Phillies starter Zach Eflin (1-3) had gone 0-3 with a 13.20 ERA over his past three major league starts in May and spent June and July in the minors. But against the Braves, he allowed seven hits and just two runs in seven innings.
He’s 2-0 with a 1.57 ERA in three career games against Atlanta, and Tuesday’s win came two weeks after he’d given up 10 hits and seven runs in five innings of a loss to the Braves’ Triple-A Gwinnett team.
“That kid was real efficient with everything he was throwing and we had a hard time getting ahold of him,” Snitker said. “Late in the game when we came back, we just couldn’t get a big hit.”