Blue Jays-Braves Preview

KATE HEDLIN
The Associated Press

Less than two weeks after ending their longest losing streak in two years, solid pitching has the Atlanta Braves on the verge of their longest winning streak since 2010.

The Braves will turn to top prospect Julio Teheran on Sunday as they try to win their seventh straight and complete a sweep of the visiting Toronto Blue Jays.

After losing eight in a row between May 21-28 - its longest single-season skid since April 2010 - Atlanta has responded by winning eight of nine.

The Braves (34-25) extended their current winning streak to six games with a 5-2 win over Toronto on Saturday. Tommy Hanson pitched eight strong innings, Dan Uggla hit a three-run homer in the third and Andrelton Simmons also homered.

Atlanta, which hasn't won seven straight since a nine-game run May 26-June 3, 2010, has used solid pitching to spark the turnaround. After the rotation recorded a 6.29 ERA during the losing streak, it has a 1.79 mark over the last six games.

"We've been playing good baseball," Uggla said. "We're grinding out at-bats, playing better defense and our pitchers have been outstanding. If we stay consistent like we have been the last week or so, we'll be all right."

Making his season debut, Teheran will try to continue that trend in the finale.

The 21-year-old right-hander made five appearances, including three starts, last season and went 1-1 with a 5.03 ERA. He was called up after Tim Hudson struggled during a bullpen session because of bone spurs in his left ankle.

"Teheran has pitched well to earn that,'' said manager Fredi Gonzalez, who added that Teheran will be sent back down following the start. "It will be good for him and good for us to see him pitch."

Teheran, who was 5-2 with a 3.15 ERA for Triple-A Gwinnett, will try to help his teammates continue their run against the AL and, in particular, Toronto.

The Braves have won 13 of their last 15 against the AL and eight in a row over the Blue Jays dating back to 2009.

However, Ricky Romero (7-1, 4.02 ERA) has won his last three decisions overall and is 5-2 with a 1.84 ERA in 10 career interleague starts.

Romero has been aided by one of the highest run-support averages in the majors at 7.24. He needed that help Tuesday after being charged with five runs - three earned - and two homers in seven innings of a 9-5 road win over the Chicago White Sox.

The left-hander lost his only start against the Braves, allowing two runs in seven innings of a 2-0 road loss last June.

The Blue Jays (30-29) have dropped three straight, totaling eight runs. They've hit .172 during that stretch, going 1 for 19 with runners in scoring position. Leadoff hitter Brett Lawrie is 0 for 11 over the three games.

Left fielder Rajai Davis left after the fifth inning Saturday with a blister on the back of his left index finger. It was his second game back after missing one with a jammed left middle finger.

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