Atlanta has picked up some steam after losing nine straight, but they got another taste of what it had been in the opening days of the season, falling to the Dodgers 5-3 in 10 innings, due to struggles in the latter stages yet again.
After a solid pitching performance on Tuesday by the entire staff from top to bottom, there was a concern that the same would not be true, as Braves ace Julio Teheran would be under the weather with flu-like symptoms, even after his start was pushed back to give him two days extra rest. Quite surprisingly, he pitched true to ace form, and potentially the best he has thrown this season. In an understandably shortened start, he only allowed one run to cross the plate while he was on the mound.
However, he was unfortunately given the short end of the stick as left-hander Eric O'Flaherty was brought in to face Adrian Gonzalez and promptly gave up a two-run shot to center field on the first pitch. As a result, Teheran was slated for two runs on his final line, and received a difficult no-decision. The bullpen yet again falters, and induces stress on the decisions made by Fredi Gonzalez and the offensive personnel.
Offensively, the Braves came out of the gates with a mission to work up the starter's pitch count, and they did just that with Ross Stripling. In the first inning, the Dodgers rookie threw 26 pitches in the first inning, and while the Braves couldn't muster any runs that time around, it definitely had an effect on latter stages of the game. In the third inning, A.J. Pierzynski brought Daniel Castro home. In the very next inning, Castro drove in two to cap off a Braves rally, which eventually chased Stripling through 3.2 innings of work, allowing 2 earned runs.
After the fourth inning, the offense seemed to close up business for the remainder for the game. The Dodgers bullpen continued to do what they do best, as the core of J.P. Howell, Chris Hatcher and Yimi Garcia halted the brakes on Atlanta's offensive production. The Braves couldn't muster a hit until the eighth inning, but still couldn't bring any runs across to answer the Adrian Gonzalez home run.
The ballgame made it's way to extra innings, and Fredi Gonzalez sent reliever Jason Grilli to the mound in an attempt to throw a shutdown inning. Unfortunately, that was not the case, as Grilli resumed some of his troubles he has had throughout the early stages of the season as he tries to recover from the achilles procedure. Grilli had opened the inning up by allowing a single and a walk, eventually leading to an RBI double by Justin Turner and the floodgates opened, leading to the Dodgers tallying their fifth run of the night.
The Braves had little answer in the bottom half, as the prestigious closer Kenley Jansen continued to do his thing, and a poor offensive showing in the middle innings in correlation with a faltering bullpen looked to be the poison pill for the Braves chances to tally a fifth consecutive win.
Next: The rubber match between two NL foes will take place on Thursday at 12:05ET as former Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw will go toe-to-toe with Braves starter Matt Wisler.