You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

Harper homers twice, powers Nats past Braves


The next time Julio Teheran faces the Nationals, the Braves’ No. 1 starter might want to swallow his pride and just not challenge Bryce Harper. Because what the Washington slugger has done to him is downright Barry Bonds-ian.

Harper homered with the bases empty in the first inning and homered again with them full in the second inning, powering the Nationals to a 14-4 win against the Braves at SunTrust Park and overshadowing a record-setting performance by Freddie Freeman.

Ryan Zimmerman added an eighth-inning grand slam off Ian Krol for the Nationals, who are 31-9 against the Braves since the beginning of the 2015 season.

“Zim has hit a couple similar balls at our stadium and it didn’t go,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. “But the ball carries pretty good here. That’s why they have that high wall out there because it is relatively shallow.”

After sweeping a four-game series against the Padres to open SunTrust Park, the Braves have lost the first two games of a three-game series against the Nationals. They’ll try to avert a sweep by the Nationals on Wednesday night when knuckleballer R.A. Dickey faces Washington’s Stephen Strasburg in the homestand finale.

Teheran (1-1) was charged with seven hits, seven runs and three walks in just four innings, exiting with a 3.52 ERA after entering with an 0.95 ERA through three starts. The Braves have lost eight consecutive games that Teheran has started against Washington.

Harper went 4-for-4 with two homers, a double, a walk and five RBIs. The two homers and walk were against Teheran to make Harper an astounding 15-for-33 (.455) against him with three doubles, seven homers, 17 RBIs and a 1.720 OPS.

“Obviously I didn’t have my best stuff today,” Teheran said. “Just a bad day. I didn’t have it, but I battled. One guy was the guy who drove in all the runs, but that’s part of the game.”

Two of Harper’s three career grand slams have come against Teheran.

“He’s real hot right now obviously, and Julio was a little off and he got hurt,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “That being said, when he left we were in the game. The eighth inning is what killed us. I was still feeling good (with the score) 7-3, and I think we had two or three at-bats left and who knows what might happen?…

“(Harper) obviously sees the ball pretty good off (Teheran). I don’t know, just hopefully you can get him to chase a little bit and get himself out.”

Freeman had a first-inning walk and third-inning home run to set an Atlanta franchise record by reaching base in 12 consecutive plate appearances, a streak that was snapped when he grounded out in the sixth inning.

Freeman, who added an RBI single in the eighth inning and is hitting .440, broke the consecutive plate-appearance record held by Jeff Burroughs, who reached base in 11 consecutive PAs in April 1978.

“It was going to end sometime, but I was hoping it wasn’t going to end tonight,” Freeman said.

By the time he broke the record the Braves trailed 6-2, with Harper’s second-inning grand slam reducing to ashes the 2-1 lead that Teheran was staked to via first-inning RBI singles from Nick Markakis and Brandon Phillips.

In his past 41 games against the Braves, Harper has hit .322 with 17 doubles, 13 home runs, 36 walks and 40 RBIs.

“There’s one of those things that you can’t explain,” Freeman said of Harper’s success against two-time All-Star Teheran. “I’m sure Julio’s thrown every pitch to him. That’s just one of those things that you step in the box and feel comfortable. Hopefully the first 35 at-bats went Bryce’s way and hopefully the next 35 go Julio’s way.”

Teheran couldn’t even walk Harper without a run scoring – he bounced a ball-four pitch five feet in front of the plate in the fourth inning with runners on the corners and two outs, allowing a run to score for a 7-3 lead. Teheran left after throwing 93 pitches (55 strikes) in four innings.

After going 3-1 with a 2.93 ERA in his first seven starts against the Nationals including six Braves wins, Teheran is 0-3 with a 6.11 ERA in his past eight starts against them, all Braves losses. He’s allowed 11 home runs in 38 2/3 innings over his past seven starts against the Nationals.

It was his worst start since Sept. 27 at home against Phillies, when he gave up 10 hits and six runs in four innings of a 7-6 win. Teheran entered with a 0.95 ERA in three starts and exited with a 3.52 ERA.

He also gave up 11 hits, six runs and two homers in six innings of a 10-9 loss at Arizona on Aug. 24. But since the loss to the Diamondbacks, Teheran was 5-1 with a 2.64 ERA in his past 10 starts before Wednesday, allowing two runs or fewer in eight starts and only two earned runs in 19 innings over his previous three starts this season.

Teheran gave up one homer his past six starts (37 innings) before giving up two to Harper in the first two innings Wednesday. Harper’s first-inning homer came on a first-pitch fastball, 90 mph and right down the middle for 1-0 lead.

His second-inning grand slam was on an 80-mph Teheran slider at the bottom of strike zone but over the middle.

“Obviously he’s hit me really good and he’s one of the best hitters in the game,” Teheran said. “I give him the credit. But this is a long season. Today was his day and he got me twice. We’ll see what’s going to happen next time.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Atlanta Braves

Impressive rookie Newcomb gets first win as Braves blank Padres
Impressive rookie Newcomb gets first win as Braves blank Padres

SAN DIEGO – The Braves are undecided about their starting-rotation plans beyond this week, but it’s safe to assume Sean Newcomb isn’t going back to the minors anytime soon. Or maybe ever, if the big left-hander keeps pitching like he did again Tuesday night. His fourth major league start was arguably the best in an imprressive string...
Braves pitching prospect Weigel has Tommy John surgery
Braves pitching prospect Weigel has Tommy John surgery

Braves pitching prospect Patrick Weigel had “Tommy John” elbow surgery Tuesday and will miss the rest of the season and most if not all of the 2018 season. Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery, just over a week after Weigel got hit hard in a June 18 start and had lingering elbow soreness the following day. The Braves’ minor league...
Freeman tentatively set to start rehab assignment with Gwinnett
Freeman tentatively set to start rehab assignment with Gwinnett

SAN DIEGO – Freddie Freeman will take live batting practice Wednesday, just six weeks after fracturing his left wrist, and is aiming to begin a rehabilitation assignment Saturday with Triple-A Gwinnett at Charlotte and rejoin the Braves next week. If all goes as planned, he said he would join the Braves in Washington for a four-games series against...
Colon to start Wednesday, Braves’ plans uncertain beyond week
Colon to start Wednesday, Braves’ plans uncertain beyond week

SAN DIEGO – More than three weeks since he pitched in a game of any kind, Bartolo Colon is set to come off the disabled list to start for the Braves on Wednesday night against the Padres. Colon was 2-7 with a majors-worst 7.78 ERA when the Braves put him on the 10-day DL on June 6 with what the Braves said was a strained oblique. The 44-year-old&rsquo...
Braves could trade for starter, Archer and Quintana top wish list
Braves could trade for starter, Archer and Quintana top wish list

The Braves are again interested in trading for a top-of-the-rotation caliber starting pitcher and have circled back to a couple of their targets from last winter: the Rays’ Chris Archer and White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana. They also had scouts at Oakland’s Sonny Gray’s start Sunday. But the Braves are more interested in both Archer...
More Stories