Julio Teheran pitched an absolute gem and Andrelton Simmons made one of the best plays of his career but it was all for naught as the Braves lost 3-1 to the Marlins in their first game of a four game series.
The Braves had their first rally of the game when Justin Upton reached on a single up the middle. Jason Heyward then smoked one to right field and ended up at second after Giancarlo Stanton tried to get Upton advancing to third. With runners on 2nd and 3rd and nobody out the Braves looked primed for a big inning. Evan Gattis was unable to make his first at bat during his return to the bigs a memorable one as he struck out. Upton would then score on a Chris Johnson groundout to put the Braves up 1-0. Andrelton Simmons would then groundout to end the inning and the Braves had to settle for only one run.
In the fourth Teheran allowed his first baserunner of the game when he walked Yelich to lead off the inning. While this ended Teheran’s perfect game bid it was worth it for what came next. Andretlon Simmons was moving towards second base to cover on what was a hit and run attempt. The ball was smoked to Simmons right, which made Simmons who was moving toward the base to leap back the other direction to field the ball. Simmons then made another extreme contortion back to the base to tag the base with his glove a moment before Yelich reached it. It was one of the best plays of Simmons career and considering this is Andrelton Simmons we are talking about that is quite a statement. It is incredible that it even needs to be asked if a play that good is the best player of a player’s career. This is why Simmons is the best shortstop in baseball.
Teheran escaped the fourth without further incident. Things were cruising smoothly until Jarrod Saltalamacchia ended Teheran’s no hit bid with a solo homer in the 5th inning to tie the game 1-1. Teheran went 4 2/3 innings of no hit ball and was dominant. The no hitter is coming and I intend to be watching when it does.
The Braves threatened to take the lead in the bottom of the sixth with a two out rally. Justin Upton got things started with a single and Heyward reached via a poor throw from Hechavarria. Evan Gattis then reached on a four pitch walk to bring up Chris Johnson with the bases loaded. Johnson though went down after swinging at three straight pitches out of the strike zone to end the rally.
Teheran would resume cruise control in the 7th inning when the Marlins finally made him sweat. Two runners would reach with one out and Teheran was forced to come up with a little magic. Teheran did exactly that though, as he struck out consecutive batters to end his night. Teheran went seven innings allowing one run, four hits, one walk, and striking out eleven batters. It was a dominant performance from a guy who makes every game feel like a big game just by virtue of him being in it. Teheran will throw a no-hitter and I hope it is for a game I get to recap.
The Braves would next threaten in the bottom of the 7th, as Simmons got things started with a leadoff walk. Jordan Schafer would pinch hit for Teheran but delivered an awful sacrifice bunt that resulted in Simmons being thrown out. Schafer would do his best to make up for it by stealing second and reaching third on a sac-fly to center that was crushed by BJ Upton. The Marlins brought in lefty Mike Dunn to face Tommy La Stella with two outs and it worked as La Stella grounded out to the pitcher to end the inning.
Jordan Walden pitched an uneventful 8th inning in relief, but then Craig Kimbrel came on in the ninth in what proved to be a very eventful inning. A walk, a single, and another walk in quick succession loaded the bases with nobody out. With the game tied at 1, and no more room for error Kimbrel pulled himself together to strike out the next two batters. A hard hit liner ended the inning as Kimbrel somehow escaped a bases loaded, nobody out jam to keep the game tied.
For the second time in three games though, it was rookie Shae Simmons who let the game get away. Simmons allowed a leadoff single and the runner was advanced to second on a sac bunt. Simmons intentionally walked Stanton but unintentionally walked McGehee to load the bases. A Garrett Jones single would chase Simmons and score two runs as the Marlins took a 3-1 lead. Anthony Varvaro would come in to stop the bleeding but it was too late. The Braves offense went quietly in the bottom of the 10th as the Braves lost 3-1