Uribe decides Braves-Phils duel with one mighty slash
By Carlos Collazo and Todd Zolecki
MLB.com |@ToddZolecki |
The Braves entered Friday's series opener with the Phillies as Major League Baseball's worst home run hitting team, but the long ball proved to be the difference as Jonny Gomes and Juan Uribe both connected off of Phillies starter Adam Morgan to lead Atlanta to a 2-1 win.
The homers backed up yet another solid home performance from Julio Teheran, who allowed just one unearned run over seven innings. Teheran was far from flawless, as he worked around Philadelphia baserunners throughout the evening, but still managed to lower his home ERA to 2.04.
"It's one of those things you can't explain," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez about the difference in Teheran's home and road numbers. "Maybe we'll fly him in the day of his starts [on the road], just fly him in that day. He can sleep in his bed, maybe that will help.
Morgan had a solid outing for Philadelphia as well, but the two pitches to Gomes and Uribe prevented him from getting back-to-back wins to start his career, with minimal run support behind him. He finished his night after seven innings and just two runs allowed, while striking out five batters and walking two.
"This is the kind of guy we're looking for," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "We need a guy that at 100 pitches can go seven or eight innings. That's what we want. Then it makes my job easier. I don't have to worry too much about the bullpen."
The much-maligned Braves bullpen continued the solid performance it has recently shown -- 2.12 ERA in the last 14 days entering Friday -- as Luis Avilan and Jim Johnson combined to shut the door on the Phillies with two shutout innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED First-pitch power: Both home runs from Gomes and Uribe came on the first pitch of their at-bats -- Gomes took an 89-mph fastball to left, while Uribe deposited a 77-mph slider to left-center. More >
Peterson's pitch to first: Braves second baseman Jace Peterson had to rush on a ground ball from Morgan in the fifth inning, and Chris Johnson couldn't handle his high throw at first base. Morgan scored from second after being moved over on a sacrifice bunt and driven in on a Cesar Hernandez single to right. Morgan was initially given his first Major League hit on the play, but an inning later Peterson was charged with a throwing error.
"That's a tough play when you're coming in as a second baseman," Gonzalez said. "That may be the hardest play any second baseman can make. And I thought he made a nice scoop. Sometimes that second baseman and the first baseman get too close to each other. And even CJ will tell you it's hard for him to see the ball where it's coming from. But Petey, there's no complaints there the way he's playing."
Morgan goes deep: Morgan notched the longest start by a Phillies pitcher not named Cole Hamels since May 14, when Aaron Harang pitched eight innings against the Pirates at Citizens Bank Park. Phillies starters had not pitched six innings in 13 of 16 games since June 15.
"He looks like he's been around a long time," Mackanin said. "He knows how to pitch. He mixes his pitches. He's got a Bugs Bunny changeup that I really like. He's got good command. That's another strong outing." More >
Out at second: Hernandez curiously stopped running between first and second when he scored Morgan on a single to right field in the fifth inning to tie the game, and was tagged out. It prevented a potentially bigger inning. Later, instant replay overturned Cameron Rupp's leadoff double in the seventh. For a team that has trouble scoring runs, they were two big baserunning outs at second base.
"That was close," Mackanin said about Rupp's play. "I don't what that might have lead to. But then Cesar made a baserunning mistake. I don't know what he … I think he was trying to go to second, then decided too late that he couldn't make it. He got caught in no-man's land."
"Really really good outing. Especially against a dominantly left-handed-hitting lineup he did a terrific job … getting the last out there in the seventh inning was big. Real pleased with his outing, real pleased with the way he went about it, and hopefully we can build on that." -- Gonzalez on Teheran's continued success at home.
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Hernandez has an eight-game hitting streak. He is hitting .455 (15-for-33) in that stretch. Since June 21, Hernandez leads the big leagues with 21 hits.
In 48 2/3 innings on the road, Teheran has a 7.40 ERA. "It's one of those numbers that you look at and scratch your head," Gonzalez said, "and the only thing you can say is, 'It's just baseball.'"
Rupp started off the top of the seventh inning with what seemed to be a leadoff double to left field. Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons made a strong throw from foul territory in left field to Peterson at second and, after a 2-minute, 22-second review, the initial safe call was overturned and Rupp was ruled out.
"That was a nice job by our video guy here to call out and say, 'Hey, challenge that,'" Gonzalez said. "And you never know when the go in the headset which way New York is going to come up with it, but they overturned it and it was a big out."
WHAT'S NEXT Phillies: Right-hander Kevin Correia starts the second game of the three-game series Saturday night at Turner Field. He is 0-2 with a 3.60 ERA in four starts since joining the Phillies. Correia has not pitched more than 5 2/3 innings in any of those starts, which is something that needs to happen with the bullpen being overworked.
Braves: Atlanta counters with Alex Wood, who is coming off of his best start of the season. In 7 1/3 shutout innings against the Pirates, Wood matched a season-high eight strikeouts while working around five hits and no walks.