Julio Teheran pitched well but the bullpen did not in an ugly 10-4 loss by the Atlanta Braves to the Philadelphia Phillies on Opening Day.
Teheran’s day got off to a rough start as he quickly fell behind 2-0 to Andrew McCutchen and then grooved a fastball that he deposited 428 feet from home plate for a 1-0 lead. Teheran would settle down from there and retire the next nine batters with a fastball that was sitting 90-92 with a good slider.
The Braves tied the game in the second as Ronald Acuña Jr. worked a leadoff walk from Aaron Nola and then stole second base. He came around to score on a single by Nick Markakis.
Teheran ran into more trouble in the fourth. Jean Segura grounded one in the hole to Dansby Swanson who made a sliding grab but appeared to get his feet caught under him forcing him to bounce the throw to first. Segura was credited with an infield single and moved up to second on the throwing error. Teheran came back to strikeout Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins before walking J.T. Realmuto. He then allowed back-to-back run-scoring singles to Odubel Herrera and Cesar Hernandez to put Philadelphia back in front 3-1.
Teheran would set the Phillies down in order in the fifth striking out Harper again to end it. Harper came into the game hitting .450 against Teheran but was 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts against the Atlanta right-hander on Thursday. Teheran would exit at the end of the inning having allowed four hits and three runs over five innings. He walked two and struck out seven.
Atlanta would try to mount a rally in the sixth as Freddie Freeman worked a one-out walk against Nola but was then thrown out stealing with Acuña at the plate. Acuña followed with a walk of his own but Nick Markakis fouled out to end the inning.
The Phillies extended the lead in the sixth against Atlanta reliever Shane Carle who walked Hoskins to lead off the inning. Carle then retired Realmuto and Herrera before walking Hernandez. Maikel Franco then jumped on a 3-2 fastball and drove it out to left for a three-run home run to make it 6-1. Carle was replaced by Wes Parsons who struck out Nick Williams to end the inning.
The Braves drew closer again in the seventh when Swanson doubled with two outs before Matt Joyce launched a Hector Nerris’ fastball into the right field stands for a two-run pinch-hit home run to make it 6-3.
However, Philadelphia blew the game back open in the seventh as Atlanta’s bullpen struggles continued. Luke Jackson replaced Parsons and promptly issued a leadoff walk to McCutchen. Segura then bounced back to Jackson who’s throw was wide at first allowing the runners to advance to second and third. After an intentional walk to Harper that loaded the bases, Hoskins destroyed a fastball into the left field stands for a grand slam to make it 10-3.
The Braves’ final run came in the 8th as Donaldson worked a leadoff walk against reliever David Robertson and eventually came around to score on a single by Acuña. Max Fried worked a 1-2-3 inning in relief in the bottom of the inning which was the only time that happened in this game.
Nola held Atlanta’s offense in check allowing two hits and one run while striking out eight over six innings. He did walk a career-high five batters but Atlanta was unable to take advantage. Ender Inciarte had a rough day at the plate going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Donaldson went 0-for-3 with a walk in his Braves’ debut. Acuña went 1-for-2 with two walks and a stolen base.
On a day that Teheran gave them a chance, Atlanta’s bullpen imploded allowing seven runs in just three innings and that is including Fried’s scoreless eighth. They will get an off day on Friday to regroup before continuing the series on Saturday. Bryse Wilson is scheduled to make his 2019 debut for Atlanta while the Phillies will counter with Nick Pivetta.