Braves aim to salvage finale of trip against M's
(SportsNetwork.com) - It will be a long flight home if the Atlanta Braves fail to stop their current losing streak, as they close out a quick two-game series against the Seattle Mariners Wednesday at Safeco Field.
The Braves have lost the first seven games on this eight-game road trip and are just 6-12 since the All-Star break. They matched a seven-game losing streak from April 29-May 5 with Tuesday's 4-2 loss and couldn't solve Mariners ace Felix Hernandez.
King Felix stymied the Braves with eight superb innings and allowed only a run and four hits with eight strikeouts and only one walk. Fernando Rodney allowed two hits and a run in the ninth, but managed to secure his 31st save.
Atlanta starting pitcher Alex Wood was reached for four runs, one of which was earned, in six innings to absorb the loss, while Justin Upton and Chris Johnson had an RBI apiece in defeat.
"With a guy like Felix it's not going to be a high-scoring game so you got to come out and put up zeroes. Unfortunately we were on the wrong side of it tonight," Wood said.
Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons left in the fourth inning with a left ankle sprain and is day-to-day. Meanwhile, Upton is two hits shy of 1,000 in his career and three RBI away from 500.
The Braves remained three games behind Washington for the NL East lead after the Nationals lost to the New York Mets. Atlanta is 27-31 as the visitor and will start a 10-game homestand this weekend versus Washington, Los Angeles and Oakland.
All-Star Julio Teheran aims to pitch Atlanta back on track when he toes the rubber Wednesday. He is 10-7 with a 2.69 earned run average and looks to bounce back from last Thursday's 2-1 loss to the Dodgers in which he yielded both runs in eight innings.
Teheran is still 4-2 in his last six decisions and will face Seattle for the first time. The right-hander is 6-6 with a 3.91 ERA in 12 road assignments and 2-4 in his past six starts away from Turner Field.
Seattle once again rode the right arm of Hernandez, who extended his MLB record to 15 straight starts of seven or more innings with two runs or fewer allowed. Hernandez is 4-1 in his last five decisions and was aided by a four- run fourth inning.
"It seemed like when he got that lead, he smelled blood in the water," Braves catcher Gerald Laird said of King Felix. "The good ones know how to pitch with a lead, and he just kept pounding the zone with strikes."
The Braves had two errors in the decisive fourth frame and both Logan Morrison and Austin Jackson had RBI singles. Braves second baseman Tommy La Stella saw two runs score on his throwing error.
The Mariners have alternated results over the past 10 games and opened a nine- game homestand on a high note. They will also host the Chicago White Sox and Toronto Blue Jays on this stay and sit only one game out of a wild card spot.
Chris Young tries to pitch Seattle to a sweep of the Braves when he takes the ball Wednesday. Young is 9-6 with a 3.19 ERA and hasn't won 10 games in a season since 2006, when he was 11-5 with San Diego. Young did not record a decision in last Thursday's 6-5 win at Cleveland and permitted four runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Young tossed seven scoreless innings in his previous start on July 26 versus Baltimore. The right-hander is 6-3 in 11 starts at Safeco Field this season, but 2-4 with a lofty 6.69 ERA in eight career starts against the Braves.
The Mariners won both games in Atlanta in early June, but were swept by the Braves in three games at Safeco Field in 2011.
08/06 10:51:43 ET