Teheran slammed early, Braves lose game and series to Orioles

Baseball mojo can be a maddening, temperamental mistress, and that’s not even taking into account the unpredictable state of Julio Teheran’s pitching.

And so it is that the Braves, who hadn’t lost a home series since early May, saw that streak snapped Saturday when Teheran gave up a first-inning grand slam to Mark Trumbo in a 7-5 loss to the lowly Orioles at sold-out SunTrust Park.

This after the O’s, who have the majors’ worst record, beat the Braves in a 15-inning marathon series opener Friday.

Ozzie Albies had a career-high four hits Saturday for the Braves, who rallied late but couldn’t overcome the early deficit they were put in by Teheran (5-5).

“Losing anytime sucks, regardless of how it goes,” said Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson, not taking any moral victories from rallying each of the first two games of the series and scoring 12 runs in the two losses.

Teheran gave up six hits, seven runs and three walks in 4 2/3 innings and came within a few feet of giving up a second grand slam when Chris Davis hit a three-run, two-out double high off the brick wall in right-center field in the fifth inning.

“Just a bad day. I would call it a bad day,” said Teheran, who’s 2-4 with a 6.05 ERA in his past seven starts. “Just two innings where they scored (seven) runs and we kind of lost the game. But just focus on the next one and try to get everything together and work on what I need to work on and I think I’ll be fine.”

After the Trumbo slam Teheran retired 12 of the next 13 batters including striking out all three in the fourth on 12 pitches. But momentum ended abruptly in the fifth inning

“The four (runs) in the first, you can come back from that,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “Then he got it going. He was an out away from getting out of (trouble); the bases-loaded double was the big one. But he threw the ball good in-between.”

The National League East-leading Braves had been 12-4 with a 3.02 ERA while batting .306 during a 16-game stretch of home games before facing the Orioles, who were 21-52 and losers of 11 of their past 13 games before taking the first two games of a three-game series at SunTrust Park, where 40,333 turned out Saturday and many stuck around for the postgame concert by Big Boi.

The Braves need to win Sunday to avoid being swept at home for the first time since the Giants did it to them May 4-6, also their last home-series loss before this one.

After Nick Markakis’ two-run double in the seventh inning against his former team cut the Orioles’ lead to 7-4, the Braves threatened again in the eighth when Charlie Culberson hit a one-out single, stole second base, went to third on an Albies single and scored on an errant pickoff attempt by reliever Mychal Givens.

Freddie Freeman walked to put two runners on base with two out before Markakis struck out looking to end the inning, the third consecutive inning in which the Braves left multiple runners on base.

“I think the past two days, just not being able to come through at the right times is when the hype gets built up,” Swanson said, “when certain situations arise and not being able to capitalize -- it obviously leaves a bad taste in your mouth. I think time and time again we’ve proved that we’ve been able to (rally late). It’s almost a good thing at this point (not to do it for once) because when you do it so often that you kind of expect it to happen, when you do it so often it kind of becomes just standard and regular.

“So we’ll keep going and hopefully be able to put together good at-bats throughout the entire game and it’ll lead us to victory in the end.”

Markakis’ bases-loaded double off the base of the right-field wall in the seventh gave him three RBIs on the day against his former team including a run-scoring single in the first inning. Orioles shortstop Manny Machado smiled and said something to Markakis as he walked past his former teammate following the double.

Another longtime former Oriole, Ryan Flaherty, didn’t fare as well against the old team. Flaherty struck out looking with two runners in scoring position for the second out in the sixth inning and grounded out with the bases loaded to end the seventh with the Braves trailing by three runs.

The Orioles had lost nine of their past 10 series before arriving in Atlanta, their only series win in that five-week stretch coming against the Mets when they swept a two-game series at New York June 5-6. Those were also the last consecutive wins for the Orioles, who lost 18 of 22 games before winning Friday and Saturday.

Baltimore was outscored 101-57 in those 22 games before coming to Atlanta, averaging 2.6 runs in that stretch. The Orioles have scored 17 runs in the first two games of this series. Their last consecutive wins before the pair against the Mets were May 11-12 against Tampa Bay.

Over his past seven starts Teheran has allowed 31 hits, 26 earned runs and nine homers in 38 2/3 innings, with 31 strikeouts and 21 walks. He’s issued three walks in each of those seven starts and pitched more than six innings once.

In 25 starts at SunTrust Park over two seasons, he’s 5-12 with a 5.64 ERA and 24 homers allowed in 137 1/3 innings, with 117 strikeouts and 62 walks. Teheran allowed five or more runs in nine of those 25 home starts including seven or more earned runs in four starts.

The three-run double by Davis gave the Orioles a 7-1 lead and brought out the hook for Teheran, who lasted five or fewer innings in five of 15 starts this season including three of his past six.