Baseball / Sports

Teheran gives up three solo home runs as Braves lose fifth game in a row

ATLANTA -- There is an old adage in baseball that giving up bases-empty home runs won't doom a pitcher. But as evident for the second consecutive night Saturday, that doesn't apply to the Braves in their current state.

Julio Teheran gave up only four hits in six innings, but three were solo homers that powered the Giants to a 3-1 win at Turner Field, extending the Braves' losing streak to five games, their longest skid since 2012.

Teheran (2-2) had not allowed more than two homers in 40 career starts before Saturday, when he gave up more than two earned runs for the first time in six starts this season.

On Friday, the Braves' Mike Minor gave up two solo homers in his season debut and the Braves lost 2-1.

The Braves have totaled just nine runs and hit below .200 during their five-game losing streak, their longest since losing eight in a row in May 2012. They need to win Sunday afternoon to avoid being swept for the second consecutive series and for the first time at home.

Braves starting pitchers, after allowing seven homers and 28 earned runs in 160 2/3 innings in the first 24 games, have allowed nine homers and 24 earned runs in the past five games. All three homers off Teheran led off innings -- Brandon Belt in the second inning, Leesburg native Buster Posey in the fourth, and Michael Morse on the first pitch of the seventh.

Morse also homered off Minor on Friday, and the former Nationals slugger has eight home runs this season.

Teheran gave had no walks and seven strikeouts in his first loss since opening day at Milwaukee, when he allowed both runs in a 2-0 defeat. He has a .500 record despite a 1.80 ERA, and the young right-hander is 1-1 with a 1.20 ERA in his past four starts.

The Braves have scored one or no runs while he was in the game in four of Teheran's six starts this season.

Ryan Vogelsong (1-1) entered with a 5.40 ERA and limited the Braves to one run on five hits and four walks in six innings.

Twenty-three of the Braves' 29 games have been decided by three runs or fewer, and they've been held to two runs or fewer 12 times. They have a 4-8 record in those games, and they're 3-9 when they don't hit at least one homer, compared to 14-3 when they do.

They wasted several scoring opportunities again, going 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position to make them 5-for-35 in that department over the past five games. Before Saturday, the Braves were 27th in the majors with a .212 average with runners in scoring position, and 29th with a .133 average in 98 at-bats with runners in scoring position and two outs.

They had a chance to at least tie the score in the second inning after putting runners on first and second with none out. But Chris Johnson grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. With a runner at third and two out, Dan Uggla walked and Vogelsong pitched around Simmons on four-pitch walk to load bases for Teheran, who hit comebacker to end inning.

In third inning, Jason Heyward walked and stole second base, then scored the tying run on B.J. Upton's lined double to left field. Freeman followed with a single and the Braves had runners on the corners with none out. But Justin Upton struck out, and Evan Gattis struck out on full-count pitch above the strike zone, and Freeman was running on the pitch and was caught stealing for an inning-ending double play.

Heyward hit a one-out double in the fifth inning and B.J. Upton followed with a walk. Freeman broke his bat on a fly out to right field and Justin Upton struck out to end the inning. That made Upton 2-for-18 with two homers and 10 strikeouts with runners in scoring position and two outs. He also grounded into a double play after Freeman's leadoff walk in the eighth inning.

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