Teheran earns 10th win as Braves top Padres 5-3
ATLANTA (AP) — Julio Teheran enjoyed his unusual chance to shine as a hitter when he wasn’t as sharp as normal on the mound.
Teheran’s squeeze bunt gave Atlanta the lead and the Braves took advantage of Odrisamer Despaigne’s control problems to beat the San Diego Padres 5-3 on Saturday night.
Teheran said the pitchers work on bunting every day, but having the pressure of having to put the ball in play as a runner took off from third base was a new challenge.
“I haven’t done it in a game,” Teheran said.
The bunt drove in Chris Johnson for a 3-2 lead in Atlanta’s four-run fourth inning.
Freddie Freeman had three hits and an RBI, Tommy La Stella also had three hits and Johnson drove in two runs. The Braves moved to within 1 1/2 games of NL East-leading Washington, which lost 1-0 to Cincinnati.
Entering the game, Teheran (10-6) had a 1.23 ERA in 10 home starts. He wasn’t as dominant against the Padres as he allowed three runs on nine hits in six innings.
Teheran had to fight through some long innings, but he didn’t walk a batter while striking out five to become the first Braves pitcher to reach 10 wins.
Only 20 of Teheran’s 92 pitches were balls, setting up a contrast to Despaigne (2-2), who had five walks.
Despaigne also was wild on a crucial throw to third base for an error in Atlanta’s big fourth inning. The Cuban right-hander lasted only 3 2-3 innings and allowed five runs — two earned — and six hits.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Despaigne, who has an unusually large assortment of pitches and speeds, required an adjustment for Atlanta’s hitters.
“This guy looks like he pitches a wiffle ball game,” Gonzalez said. “He throws every pitch different angles and sometimes it’s 93 (mph) and sometimes it’s 64 miles per hour curve balls. But we were patient.”
Seth Smith had three hits and Yasmani Grandal had a two-run double for the Padres.
Craig Kimbrel struck out the side in the ninth for his 31st save.
Despaigne made his first start since throwing 7 2-3 no-hit innings before allowing a run in a no-decision against the Mets on July 20.
“He was trying to be a little too fine, kind of hitting the corners instead of making pitches,” Grandal, the Padres’ catcher, said of Despaigne.
“The curve ball wasn’t that sharp tonight. ... His cutter he usually throws for a strike a lot. He was throwing it for balls. And again you go back to trying to be too perfect on that outside corner. Other than that I think he pitched good, you know?”
Despaigne walked three batters in the fourth and hurt himself with a high throw to third base for an error when trying for a force play on Johnson.
San Diego third baseman Chris Nelson fell over the sliding Johnson after reaching for the high throw. Johnson then scored on Teheran’s bunt.
Johnson and Freeman had run-scoring singles in the inning.
The Padres took a 2-1 lead off Teheran in the fourth. Grandal’s double to center field drove in Yangervis Solarte and Smith, who reached on singles. Solarte had a run-scoring single in the fifth.
Atlanta scored one run in the second when Jason Heyward walked, moved to third on a double by Evan Gattis and scored on Johnson’s groundout to third base.
Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso had one hit in his return from the 15-day disabled list. Alonso had been out since June 17 with right wrist tendinitis.
Gonzalez had an unsuccessful challenge of a foul call on Freeman’s liner down the left-field line in the fourth. Freeman had a run-scoring single up the middle after the ruling that the play stood.
The Padres committed three errors.
NOTES: The Braves will show Sunday’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony on the Turner Field video board. Gates will open at 1 p.m. for the 5:05 p.m. game, and fans with tickets to the game can watch the ceremony. Former Braves pitchers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, former manager Bobby Cox and former player and manager Joe Torre are among the inductees. ... Padres OF Jake Goebbert was optioned to Triple-A El Paso. ... Braves 2B Phil Gosselin reached on an error in the sixth and was picked off base following his recall from Triple-A Gwinnett. IF Tyler Pastornicky was optioned to Gwinnett. ... The series continues Sunday when Atlanta’s Mike Minor faces San Diego’s Eric Stults in a matchup of left-handers.