A frustrating night for the Atlanta Braves ended up costing them the advantage in the race for home field in the NL playoffs.
Atlanta (95-66) slipped behind St. Louis on Saturday for the league's best record with a 5-4 loss to the Phillies. The Braves committed three errors, with two coming in a two-run seventh for Philadelphia, which had lost three in a row and eight of nine. Atlanta rallied for three runs in the ninth, but Chris Johnson was called out on a slide into first base to end the game with two men on base.
Johnson was seen exchanging heated words with first base coach Terry Pendleton in the dugout following the play, though Johnson declined to comment on it after the game. He's 2 for his last 23 with 10 strikeouts, dropping his batting average 11 points to .321. Michael Cuddyer leads the league with a .333 average.
The Braves will need a victory Sunday - combined with a Cardinals loss - to claim home-field advantage by virtue of a tiebreaker. Atlanta won the season series with St. Louis, 4-3.
"That's still a big carrot for us, for us to win and St. Louis to lose to get the No. 1 seed," manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Teheran (13-8, 3.09 ERA) will take the mound against the Phillies (73-88), whose five runs Saturday matched the club's total from its previous five games. He's 6-3 with a 2.66 ERA in 11 outings since the All-Star break, though that includes a 5-1 loss to Philadelphia on Aug. 12. He went six innings and yielded four runs and six hits, including a home run to Cody Asche.
He is 3-1 in his last four games after striking out seven over six innings of a 5-2 road win over the Chicago Cubs last Sunday. The right-hander also hasn't walked a batter over 12 2-3 innings in his last two starts after issuing 14 bases on balls over 25 innings in his previous four.
"He's been unbelievable all year and what he did today in the six innings that he pitched was pretty unbelievable," Freddie Freeman, who is 25 for 56 (.446) over his last 17 game, told the team's official website. "It was a big day and he did an unbelievable job."
Jimmy Rollins is 4 for 6 off Teheran with a homer while Chase Utley is 3 for 4.
Atlanta catcher Brian McCann missed his second straight contest Saturday since leaving Thursday's game with a strained adductor muscle, but Gonzalez said he might be available Sunday.
Zach Miner (0-1, 3.08) will get the nod for the Phillies. After being called upon when Kyle Kendrick was shut down due to an injury, he's limited opponents to one run over seven innings over his first two big league starts since 2009.
The right-hander made two relief appearances versus Atlanta earlier in the year, throwing 5 1-3 scoreless innings with three hits and a walk.
- Sports & Recreation
- Philadelphia Phillies
- Atlanta Braves
- Julio Teheran