It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective. That’s all the Braves could’ve asked for Julio Teheran’s return to the mound.
Teheran pitched six no-hit innings in the Braves’ 4-1 win over the Padres on Sunday. He was relieved by Shane Carle after throwing 95 pitches.
The right-hander was placed on the disabled list June 5 with a thumb contusion. His velocity had dipped into the mid-80s in his last start, but averaged 91-92 mph Sunday.
“It was great, the way I was feeling,” Teheran said. “I was excited to be back. I feel fresh. I feel good. All my pitches, the slider there, were working. ... I was just trying to do my part. Everyone’s been playing really good. So I was just going out there trying to win this game.”
After walking lead-off man Travis Jankowski and hitting Jose Pirela in the first inning, Teheran retired 15 Padres in a row, including at one point posting six straight strikeouts.
Teheran struck out 11, his first double-digit strikeout total since Oct. 2, 2016, when he fanned 12 in the Turner Field finale.
“I was throwing bullpens the last couple days, and my arm was feeling good,” Teheran said. “When your arm’s feeling good, you don’t have anything else to worry about. Just go out there and make pitches.”
With the pitches piling up, Teheran issued two walks in the sixth. He limped when walking off the mound. That, alongside his high pitch count, made it an easy call to pull him despite a no-hit bid.
Braves manager Brian Snitker said Teheran experienced a cramp in his leg. But overall, Snitker was pleased with the outing.
“From the first inning on, it was good to see life on the fastball again,” Snitker said of Teheran. “I was curious about (his velocity), but he said he felt good. ... He did exactly what we wanted him to do.”
Padres third baseman Cory Spangenberg hit a one-out single off Carle in the seventh for their first hit.
The Braves rotation has been exceptional in the past 11 games. Starters have allowed eight earned runs in 72 innings while allowing 34 hits and walking 13.
Johan Camargo’s two-RBI double against Jose Castillo put the Braves ahead in the fourth. The Braves third baseman has a hit in seven of his last 10 games, raising his average from .208 to .223.
Catcher Kurt Suzuki was hit by Raffy Lopez’s back swing at the end of the second inning. He was removed for precautionary reasons and declared day-to-day.
“I’ve never been hit with a backswing like that in 12 seasons,” Suzuki said. “First time getting hit right there. It was pretty brutal. It’s got a lump or whatever.”
Up just a run, Tyler Flowers’ two-run homer off Brad Hand in the eighth provided the Braves some breathing room before the final frame.
Carle, A.J. Minter and Arodys Vizcaino finished it for the Braves. Each pitched an inning and allowed two hits. San Diego got a run off Minter, but the trio did enough to protect the lead.
Teheran and the bullpen combined for 17 strikeouts, the most a Braves team has had since Sept. 14, 2012.
The Braves took three of four from the Padres, pushing them a season-best 13 games over .500. They’ve been in first place in the National League East for 43 of the last 45 days, and with Washington’s loss in Toronto, lead the East by 3.5 games.
A first-place team has filled SunTrust Park: The Braves announced 40,251 in attendance Sunday, their third-straight sellout and sixth of the season.
“The support’s been great all year,” Snitker said. “People come out and it’s like they know to stay because sometimes it’s late before it happens. But it’s good. The guys love it. They appreciate it and they love it. It’s a great atmosphere.”