Julio Teheran shines for Braves

Atlanta Braves 3, Houston Astros 2

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Atlanta's Julio Teheran, who will be the Braves' fifth starter, lowered his ERA to 1.04 after Saturday's victory. He has struck out 35 and only issued nine walks this spring.  EVAN VUCCI/ASSOCIATED PRESS
EVAN VUCCI/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Atlanta's Julio Teheran, who will be the Braves' fifth starter, lowered his ERA to 1.04 after Saturday's victory. He has struck out 35 and only issued nine walks this spring.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — This is how Julio Teheran won a spot in the Atlanta Braves’ rotation.

The rookie right-hander struck out 10 in six hitless innings and Dan Uggla hit one of three homers for a split-squad of Braves, who beat the Houston Astros 3-2 on Saturday.

Teheran, Atlanta’s fifth starter, walked three while lowering his ERA to 1.04 in six starts.

“That’s a really good arm,” Astros manager Bo Porter said.

Teheran also pitched five hitless innings against St. Louis on March 12. He has allowed just seven hits over 26 innings this spring while striking out 35 and walking nine.

“My first goal was to make the team from spring training and I did,” said Teheran, who was notified he made the rotation on Thursday. “That was my motivation.”

Two of Teheran’s walks and three of his strikeouts came in the first inning.

“I was trying to be too fine,” he said. “But from then I was good. Most of my strikeouts were with the curveball.”

The 22-year-old right-hander from Colombia struggled last season in Triple-A, but Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez thinks he learned from the experience.

“You have to give Julio credit,” Gonzalez said. “He had some adversity last year and is the better for it. He’s matured.”

The Astros had just one hit until the ninth inning, when Rick Ankiel belted a two-run homer off Braves closer Craig Kimbrel.

Ankiel also had Houston’s other hit, a single in the seventh inning.

The outfielder, in camp on a minor league deal, is batting .361 (13 for 36) this spring.

Evan Gattis and Uggla went deep in the second and Jordan Parraz connected in the fifth against Astros starter Phillip Humber.

It was the third homer in two games for Gattis, who has five this spring and is bidding to win a job as the Braves’ backup catcher.

Humber allowed no other hits in his six innings. He struck out four and walked none.

ATLANTA (SS) 10,

TORONTO 5

In Dunedin, Fla., minor league callup Edward Salcedo had two homers to lead the Braves.

Rajai Davis, Melky Cabrera and J.P. Arencibia hit solo homers for Toronto.

Toronto starter Brandon Morrow allowed four of his five runs in the fifth inning, and has allowed 15 runs over 15 innings in five starts.

Reed Johnson had a two-run single, the Braves’ fourth consecutive hit off Morrow with two outs in the fifth, that pulled Atlanta within 4-3. The tying run scored on Morrow’s wild pitch, and Justin Upton’s run-scoring infield single put Atlanta ahead.


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