ATLANTA (AP) — Julio Teheran's ability to work through trouble impressed manager Fredi Gonzalez, who said it's more proof of the young right-hander's added maturity in his breakout season.
Teheran made it through six scoreless innings and a tired Atlanta bullpen held on as the Braves beat the Washington Nationals 2-1 on Sunday.
The Braves won two of three in the series and stretched their NL East lead over the second-place Nationals to 15 ½ games.
Both teams exhausted their bullpens in the Nationals' 8-7 win in 15 innings on Saturday night, making it important for the Braves that Teheran protect Atlanta's relievers as long as possible. The Nationals had two runners with no outs in each of the first three innings, putting a strain on Teheran's pitch count and making Gonzalez nervous in the Atlanta dugout.
"I'm thinking he's right at 60 pitches in three innings and you know your bullpen is spent," Gonzalez said. "You're thinking man, oh man. He did a nice job getting us through the sixth. Once he got us through six we were thinking we've got a shot here with the guys we have."
Four Atlanta relievers combined to preserve the win for Teheran (10-6).
Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 39th save. After Denard Span reached on an infield hit, Kimbrel struck out Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper to finish it.
The game ended when third base umpire Marvin Hudson ruled Harper went around on an attempted check swing.
It was another frustrating moment in a long season for the Nationals, who have lost three of four after five straight wins.
"I think in that situation you can't really call that," Harper said. "Especially when the home plate umpire says 'No' about three times and doesn't want to check. They obviously check and they bang me. That's one less pitch I get to see against him.
"Kimbrel's a great closer. I think trying to see as many pitches as you can against him is huge. The deeper I get in the count makes me stronger."
Harper, who had two hits, said he didn't mind being booed before every at-bat during the series.
"I love these fans," Harper said. "These people, they're absolutely unbelievably amped up for their team."
Freddie Freeman and Chris Johnson hit RBI singles off Gio Gonzalez (7-6) in the first. Gonzalez gave up only two hits and no runs in the next six innings.
Teheran had baserunners reach second in five of his six innings. He retired the Nationals in order only in the fourth.
Teheran gave up five hits with three walks as the Nationals stranded nine runners in his six innings.
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