Rockies-Braves Preview

The Associated Press

The Atlanta Braves' Julio Teheran followed his shortest outing of the year with one of his best.

He'll try to build on his second shutout as the Braves wrap up a three-game set against the visiting Colorado Rockies on Sunday.

While Teheran (3-3, 1.92 ERA) was tagged for five runs over 3 1-3 innings in a 10-4 loss at San Francisco on May 14, he had everything working in Tuesday's 5-0 win over Milwaukee. The 23-year-old right-hander struck out eight in a six-hitter to earn his first home victory.

"He's proving himself to be the ace of the team," shortstop Andrelton Simmons said. "He had a bad outing. That's the best way to bounce back - a shutout."

Teheran threw a career-high 128 pitches, recording back-to-back strikeouts to end the game.

"The good ones and the horses are able to go out there, and they smell the blood in the water. He went out there, made pitches and I'm glad he got it done," catcher Gerald Laird told MLB's official website. "It's good, especially for a young guy like him. He's still young, and sometimes that's the hardest thing to learn, to close a game out."

Teheran, who owns a 1.40 ERA in six starts at Turner Field, had received a combined five runs of support in his previous four outings there. The Braves (27-21) also failed to get much going in Saturday's 3-1 defeat.

B.J. Upton collected two of Atlanta's four hits as the Braves went 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position.

"There weren't a lot of opportunities but we had some and when you don't cash in on opportunities you have games like this," manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki and Michael Cuddyer both homered in the team's first game since losing third baseman Nolan Arenado to a broken finger. Slugging left fielder Carlos Gonzalez was also held out again with a finger injury, but is likely to return for the finale.

"It was a tough night last night, a tough loss and obviously Nolan's situation," manager Walt Weiss said of Friday's 3-2 defeat. "Just like we've been all year, this team is resilient and they turn the page and show up the next day and compete. They don't lose confidence. It was a good gut-check for us today."

Juan Nicasio also came up big with six strong innings for Colorado (27-22), which has hit .182 and scored nine runs during a 1-4 slide on the road.

"I know I need to win today, tie the series 1-1 and tomorrow we try to win the series," Nicasio said.

The Rockies now turn to Franklin Morales (3-3, 5.30), who is 0-2 with a 6.55 ERA in four starts this month. The left-hander yielded three runs over six innings in Tuesday's 5-4 walkoff win over San Francisco.

Morales is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in five games - one start - against the Braves, but he hasn't faced them in nearly two years. He will need to be careful against Justin Upton, who is hitting .417 with three homers and nine RBIs over a seven-game stretch.

Upton, 3 for 10 with a homer against Morales, is batting .432 with four home runs and 11 RBIs during an 11-game hitting streak against the Rockies.

Teheran allowed one run in each of his two starts versus Colorado last season, winning both while striking out 14 in 12 innings. Tulowitzki is 0 for 5 with three strikeouts in their matchups.

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