Julio Teheran looked sharp in his last audition to become part of Atlanta’s playoff rotation, pitching two-hit ball for six innings Thursday night in the Braves’ 4-1 loss to the New York Mets.
The NL East champion Braves didn’t start first baseman Freddie Freeman and center fielder Ender Inciarte, and they were minus injured shortstop Dansby Swanson for the second straight game.
Jason Vargas (7-9) tossed seven shutout innings in his best start of the season for the Mets. He helped New York blank the Braves for the second day in a row.
Teheran (9-9) allowed one run, struck out five and walked two, exciting with a 1-0 deficit. His final regular-season start came exactly a week before the Braves are set to begin the postseason.
Teheran won just one of his last 10 outings while often throwing better than his record indicated. The 27-year-old righty started for the Braves the previous time they made the playoffs in 2013 and has long been a key piece of their staff, but his place this October is uncertain.
Manager Brian Snitker hasn’t said who will pitch when in the playoffs. Mike Foltynewicz, Kevin Gausman and Anibal Sanchez are considered likely to lock down the first three starts in the best-of-five NL Division Series, perhaps leaving Teheran and Sean Newcomb to compete for the fourth spot.
Teheran gave up a leadoff double to Brandon Nimmo in the first and a home run to Kevin Plawecki in the fourth.
Pinch-hitter Devin Mesoraco connected for a three-run homer off Brad Brach in the seventh that made it 4-0.
Ronald Acuna Jr. hit an RBI single in the eighth.
The Braves beat New York in the opener of this three-game series for their sixth straight win. But Mets starters Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom and Vargas combined for 21 scoreless innings in the set, and New York finished 6-13 against Atlanta this year.
Vargas gave up three hits, walked none and struck out six, pitching in light rain in the later innings. The 35-year-old lefty tied for the major league lead with 18 wins last season with Kansas City but struggled after signing a $16 million, two-year deal with the Mets.
Robert Gsellman worked the ninth for his 13th save. He struck out Freeman with two on to end it.
WRIGHT YOU ARE
Mets third baseman David Wright didn’t play despite scattered chants of “We want David!” Activated this week, he hasn’t played in the majors since May 2016 because of neck, back and shoulder injuries. The Mets have planned for him to start Saturday night at Citi Field against Miami.
The 35-year-old team captain left a spirited reminder of his days in the clubhouse before the game. A bottle of tequila was put in each teammate’s locker, with his No. 5 and the message, “Thanks for the memories.”
Braves: No update on Swanson, diagnosed this week with a partially torn ligament in his left hand. A progress report is possible over the weekend. Swanson’s status remains uncertain for Atlanta’s playoff opener next Thursday. Charlie Culberson again took Swanson’s place.
Braves: Foltynewicz (12-10, 2.88 ERA) starts Friday night at Philadelphia in final series of the regular season. Last Saturday, he took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning against the Phillies in the division clincher.
Mets: RHP Corey Oswalt (3-3, 6.08) starts at home vs. RHP Jose Urena (8-12, 4.07) and the Marlins.
Source: The Associated Press