The Braves defeated the Twins 5-1 Monday night in the opener of a 3-game series. Braves starter Julio Teheran took a 3-hit shutout into the ninth before surrendering a couple more hits, including Josh Willingham‘s sixth home run of the year with one out. Teheran pitched a career high 8 1/3 innings, striking out 4 and walking only one.
Julio Teheran and Dan Uggla spoke to the media in the locker room after the game. Here’s the Q&A:
How much did it help you having the early lead?
I feel more comfortable when I have the early lead. I was just trying to go out there and throw my pitches and get the win like I did.
Were you surprised when Fredi sent you out there for the ninth inning?
I was excited to get my first shutout and I was trying to do what I did the whole game.
Have you been focused on pounding the strike zone the last few starts?
I’m trying to throw strikes to get ahead in the counts and after that just make the pitches. I don’t try to strike them out, I just try to make pitches to get ground balls like I did.
You said you didn’t have your change-up tonight and you noticed it in the bullpen?
I’ve been working on my change-up but in the game it did work but my other pitches were working. So I just tried to compete with my other pitches.
Have you ever thrown 123 pitches in a game?
Never, never, but I wasn’t thinking about it. I was just trying to get out there and finish that inning.
After Teheran’s last five starts do you think he is coming into his own?
Yeah, a little bit. Julio is not one of these kids that thinks he can throw it by everybody. He understands what it is to pitch and he is all about learning and I think he’s done that this year. He’s had a couple rough outings early in the game, first and second inning he’s had trouble getting out of those. But he has really bared down and paid attention to what mistakes he has been making and he’s looked pretty good the last four or five starts.
Is he a much different guy than you saw in early April?
I think so and given the fact that he gave up some runs in early April. After the second inning he really battled and held them right there and gave us a chance. So that says a lot about the type of competitor that he is. He’s a mature 22-year old and you forget that he’s only 22 so I’m impressed with him. He’s got a good head on his shoulders and he knows that he has to keep learning and keep improving.
What do you think makes Teheran tough?
He mixes it up, he hits his spots, works inside and outside and he’s really done a great job of working both sides of the plate this year I think. He mixes in his off speed pitchers when necessary and when you’re working both sides of the plate like that you are going to be effective.