Julio Teheran did indeed pick up from where he left off back in New York against the Mets. He managed to weave his way through six scoreless innings and the Braves ended up leaving Tropicana Field with a two-game “sweep” of the Rays following a 5-2 victory.
Even though we still have yet to see the version of Julio Teheran who is just putting heat past people, we saw a version who is figuring out a way to work with what he’s currently got in his arsenal. Teheran got off to a solid start by picking up two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 inning to begin the game.
The Braves immediately repaid Teheran’s good start to the game by producing some offense in the top of the second inning. Ender Inciarte has been struggling against lefties this season but he showed no signs of that as he ended up rapping one into center field to bring in Nick Markakis for the game’s first run.
Atlanta wasn’t done there, as they got right back into action in the top of the third inning. Charlie Culberson and Ozzie Albies both reached base to start off the inning and then Ronald Acuña reached via HBP to load the bases up for Freddie Freeman. Freddie hit a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0 Atlanta and then Nick Markakis broke the inning wide open with a three-run dinger to make it 5-0 Braves. He’s now on seven home runs this season after hitting eight all of last year. The Renaissance Man was at it again.
With five runs on the board, it was now on the Braves’ pitching staff to make sure that the five-run lead stuck and Julio Teheran did his best to make sure it stayed like that. In fact, Julio ran into a jam in the bottom of the fourth, just as the Braves had picked up that big lead. The Rays had runners on second and third after a couple of big hits. Fortunately, Teheran deftly pitched his way out of the jam with a couple of strikeouts and a groundout to keep the zero on the board for Tampa.
That ended up being the last major jam that Julio had to deal with as he ended up finishing with six scoreless innings while only allowing four hits and zero walks.
The next jam for the Braves came with Peter Moylan on the mound in the eighth inning. After starting off with a strikeout, things got away from Moylan and he ended up loading the bases with just one out.
That meant that A.J. Minter had to come on and clean things up and Minter very nearly extended the pitching staff’s scoreless streak on the road to 35 innings. Unfortunately, Wilson Ramos poked one through the infield to score two runs and extend his hitting streak to 16 games. Minter did good to limit the damage to two runs, but that meant that the Braves margin of error was down to three runs heading into the money inning.
Arodys Vizcaino came on and promptly dealt with the Rays in the bottom of the ninth as he only had to deal with a bit of a fluky infield single while he got the final three outs and gave the Braves the mini-sweep of the Rays.
After taking care of business against Tampa Bay, it’s now time for the Braves to try to do the same thing down on South Beach against the Marlins. However, with the way this team has been playing on the road, we might just see the Braves become the latest team to heap pain upon the Fish and they’ll be visiting Miami after a pair of impressive victories this week.