Much will be expected of the young Atlanta Braves' rotation next month when they attempt to deal with playoff pressure without injured veteran anchor Tim Hudson.
Julio Teheran looks to continue building toward the postseason Sunday when the Braves wrap up their series with the San Diego Padres.
Teheran (12-7, 3.05 ERA) is already one of eight rookies in franchise history to reach double figures in wins, but he enters this start with the chance to become the third to get to 13, joining Craig McMurtry (15 in 1983) and Jair Jurrjens (13 in 2008). On Tuesday, the right-hander struggled with the extra energy he had after having his previous turn in the rotation skipped - giving up three first-inning runs - but he regrouped and allowed only two more hits the next 5 2-3 innings of Atlanta's 4-3 win at Miami.
"Anytime you give those guys a breather, maybe you don't see it the first start back, but I think you'll see it the next couple of starts and beyond,' manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ``That's what we want to do - we want to pitch these guys beyond the next couple of starts.'
Teheran - much like the Braves - has been very comfortable at home, compiling a 7-3 record and 2.62 ERA with 9.94 strikeouts per nine innings in 14 starts. He's held opponents to one or no runs in eight outings at Turner Field, where the Braves (89-59) are a major league-best 52-21.
San Diego, however, got to Teheran in a 7-6 home victory June 10, reaching him for five runs - four scoring on two home runs - and six hits in six innings. Teheran, though, has a 2.45 ERA in nine starts since the All-Star break.
Atlanta's magic number for clinching the NL East is four after a 2-1 victory Saturday coupled with Washington's loss to Philadelphia. Kris Medlen pitched 7 1-3 innings for his team-leading 14th win, and Craig Kimbrel overcame a rare moment of trouble - allowing his first run since July 4 and ending a streak of 28 scoreless appearances - before nailing down his career-high and major league-leading 47th save.
Freddie Freeman went 3 for 3 with a homer, moving him within one RBI of 100. He is 12 for 23 (.522) with two homers during a six-game overall hitting streak and also 7 for 16 in his last four versus the Padres.
Padres rookie Burch Smith (0-1, 9.17) continues his month-long audition for a potential rotation spot in 2014. The 23-year-old was uneven on Sept. 6 versus Colorado following his call-up, giving up two runs and four hits while also walking four and striking out seven in five innings before San Diego (67-80) rallied for a 4-3 walkoff win.
"It definitely wasn't pretty," the right-hander told the team's official website after his 96-pitch effort. "I'd like to do a little bit better, cut down on the walks, definitely. But it was good to at least get through five innings and battle."
Chase Headley has homered in consecutive games, and three of his four hits versus Atlanta this year have been solo homers.
The Associated Press News Service
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