LOS ANGELES – Julio Teheran was unbeaten on the road before Saturday, even winning twice in games in which he allowed multiple homers. But those were against the Angels and Reds, not the team with the majors’ best record, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
He gave up three bases-empty home runs Saturday, and this time Teheran and the Braves couldn’t overcome that long-ball deficit in a 6-2 loss after the Braves won the first two games of the four-game series at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers extended their major league record to 45 consecutive wins in games in which they held a lead of any size at any point.
“They keep coming at you,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “You never feel comfortable against these guys because they’re so aggressive and they just keep coming at you. And they’ve got guys that come off the bench who are really tough outs when they don’t (start). They’re deep.”
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Such as Chris Taylor, who entered the game in the seventh inning when he led off with a home run off Teheran for a 4-2 lead, then added a two-run triple in the eighth against reliever Luke Jackson.
Teheran (7-8) gave up nine hits and four runs in 6 1/3 innings in his first road loss, continuing his career futility against the Dodgers. He fell to to 0-6 with a 5.52 ERA in seven starts against them and has lost all four of his games at Dodger Stadium.
“Those long balls, one of them was a mistake and the others were pitches that I wanted to throw, where I wanted to throw them, they just got pretty good swings on it,” said Teheran, who had one walk and six strikeouts. “At this park, you hit it pretty good the ball’s going to fly. But I didn’t lose my focus in the game, I was battling the whole time.”
The Dodgers had an 11-game winning streak before the Braves took the first two games of the series, which was twice has many losses as the Dodgers had in their previous 19 home games.
Rookie Johan Camargo continued his hot hitting with a pair of doubles Saturday for the Braves, who’ll start rookie Sean Newcomb against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw in a matchup of left-handers in Sunday’s series finale.
Teheran allowed two or fewer earned runs in six or more innings in five of seven starts before Saturday, when he gave up multiple homers for the seventh time this season including three homers for the third time.
He’s given up three solo homers in each of his past two starts at Dodger Stadium, where he’s 0-4 with a 6.29 ERA in four career starts, with eight home runs allowed in 24 1/3 innings.
Dodgers veteran Rich Hill (7-5) gave up six hits and two runs with two walks and relied mainly on his big curveball to get eight strikeouts including five in the first two innings. He’s 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA in four July starts and has 37 strikeouts with just three walks in 25 1/3 innings.
“It’s a good one, the old-school true curveball,” Braves catcher Tyler Flowers said of Hill’s best pitch. “It’s not rolling in there, it’s got a lot of bite for 73, 75 (mph). He was getting a lot of borderline calls, I would call them. He recognized that and started using it to his advantage. That makes it a little more challenging.”
The Braves won each of Teheran’s past seven road starts before Saturday, and he was 6-0 with a 2.53 ERA in nine road starts including seven games in which he allowed two or fewer earned runs in six or more innings.
He gave up a pair of early home runs to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead before the Braves answered with two runs in the fifth to tie. But just as quickly as they lost the lead, the Dodgers moved back ahead in the sixth inning on three hits including two that didn’t make it to the infield dirt.
Yasmani Grandal led off the inning with a nubber of a hit up the third-base line and Logan Forsythe followed with a single to left field. After Joc Pederson grounded into a double play, Yasiel Puig hit a slow grounder that Teheran made a nice play on, fielding it at the third-base line and throwing to the plate in time for Flowers to tag Grandal.
However, when Grandal’s chest hit Flowers’ mitt immediately after he caught Teheran’s throw, the ball shot out of his mitt and toward the backstop. It was ruled a single and an RBI, plus an error on Flowers allowing the runner to advance to second base.
“There’s nothing that I could tell you I’d do differently tomorrow on it,” Flowers said. “It’s a quick play, Julio’s throwing it from the opposite side; catch it, try to tag him. There was no time to go two hands, no time to even ‘give’ with it. There was time to catch the ball and it happened to be right where he was, he ran through it.”
Teheran said, “I wasn’t expecting to make that play at home. I was trying to go to first. I saw the runner come in front of me, that’s when I decided to throw home. It was a hard play right there, I know Flow (Flowers) tried his best to make it and I did too. But we couldn’t make it.”
Snitker, too, said he didn’t think Flowers could have handled the play differently.
“Probably nine out of 10 times it stays in his glove,” he said. “I mean, he just hit it just right and it came out.”
Teheran got out of that inning without further damage, but gave up a leadoff homer to Taylor in the seventh.
When the Dodgers got a one-out homer from Corey Seager in the first inning, the Dodger Stadium faithful had to feel good about their chances, considering last week they broke a 111-year old major league record set by the 1906 Cubs by winning for the 44th consecutive time in any game in which they had a lead.
Chase Utley homered to start the third inning and push the lead to 2-0, making it five homers allowed by Teheran in a span of six innings over his past two starts at Dodger Stadium.
The Braves came back to tie with two runs in the fifth inning, Teheran getting things started with a leadoff hit-by-pitch when Hill hit him in the foot. One out later, Camargo doubled for the second time in the game and the Braves had two runners in scoring position with one out.
Freddie Freeman drove in a run with a ground-out and Matt Kemp lined a single to left field for a 2-2 tie.