Phillies-Braves Preview

The Associated Press

The Atlanta Braves pitchers have been leading their club's recent surge in the wild card race, and Julio Teheran has been one of their best lately.

The right-hander will try to win four consecutive starts for the second time in his career and lead the Braves to their 12th win in 17 games Monday against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Atlanta's staff has registered a 2.07 ERA in the past 16 games with its relievers giving up just four earned runs in the past 38 innings. Alex Wood led the way in a 1-0 victory over Miami on Sunday, striking out 12 in eight innings.

That win kept the Braves (72-65) within 1 1/2 games of the co-leaders for the NL's second wild card, Milwaukee and St. Louis.

Teheran (13-9, 2.90 ERA) has gone a team-best 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA in three starts since Aug. 15. He gave up a solo homer, two singles and two walks over 6 1-3 innings in a 3-2 road victory against the New York Mets on Wednesday.

"Every time I go out there, it is an important game for me and my team," Teheran told MLB's official website. "All I try to do is do my best, and I know my teammates are going to do their part."

After back-to-back road victories, Teheran will try to add to his 5-2 record and 1.95 ERA at Turner Field, one of the best home marks in the NL among qualifying pitchers.

He's 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA in three starts against Philadelphia this year and gave up two runs in seven innings while striking out nine in his most recent matchup, a 4-2 road win June 27. He permitted one run over eight innings in his lone meeting in Atlanta in 2014, but the Braves went 13 innings in a 6-1 loss June 16.

The Braves have won six of seven over Philadelphia (62-74) and took two of three in the latest matchup July 18-20 at Turner Field, where they've also won five of six overall.

The Phillies, though, will start Cole Hamels, who has proved troublesome for Atlanta in his recent meetings.

Hamels (7-6, 2.59) is 3-0 with a 1.16 ERA in his past four starts against the Braves. He has yielded one run in 14 innings in two matchups this year while striking out 15 and walking two.

Hamels, 5-1 with a 2.07 ERA in his last 10 overall starts, tossed six scoreless innings in Tuesday's 4-3 victory over Washington before giving up two runs in the seventh and a tying solo homer to Asdrubal Cabrera in the eighth.

Philadelphia had won seven of nine before dropping two of three to the New York Mets this weekend to begin a nine-game trip. The Phillies missed a chance to get out of last place for the first time since June 27 with a 6-5 defeat Sunday.

"We're doing some things better, so we want to continue with that throughout the month of September, keep building that momentum," manager Ryne Sandberg told MLB's official website.

Grady Sizemore is batting .444 in seven games against Atlanta this season, including four in May while with Boston. Marlon Byrd is batting .356 with five homers and 14 RBIs in his last 23 versus the Braves, but is 2 for 14 with five strikeouts lifetime against Teheran.

Atlanta's Evan Gattis is 3 for 6 with two homers against Hamels. He's batting .410 with seven homers and 13 RBIs in his last 10 games versus Philadelphia.

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