Stults, Johnson lead Braves past Nationals

Stults, Johnson lead Braves past Nationals

ATLANTA -- Kelly Johnson went 3-for-4, with three RBIs, including a two-run homer that fueled a three-run sixth, and the Atlanta Braves took advantage of sloppy defense by the Washington Nationals, who committed four errors, to take the first game of a three-game series, 8-4, Monday night at Turner Field.

Braves starter Eric Stults (1-1) got the win for the Braves, who had lost five of six, limiting the Nationals to two runs and four hits in a season-high 6 1/3 innings. Stults threw 59 of his 96 pitches for strikes. In the seventh, reliever Cody Martin got out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam by inducing a sacrifice fly from Denard Span then catching Ryan Zimmerman looking at a fastball down the middle to end the inning.

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Jon Cooper is a contributor to MLB.com. John Donovan is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Freeman ejected for arguing checked swing

Freeman ejected for arguing checked swing

ATLANTA -- Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman was ejected following his strikeout to end the fifth inning of Monday night's series opener with Washington.

With Atlanta leading, 2-1, Freeman, who already had two hits in the game, started toward first base believing he had checked his swing and drawn a walk on a 3-2 pitch from Nationals starter Doug Fister. But home-plate umpire Bill Welke appealed to third-base umpire John Hirschbeck, who ruled Freeman had gone too far, ending the inning and stranding runner Andrelton Simmons at third.

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Jon Cooper is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Teheran, Braves continue series vs. rookie Cole, Nats

Teheran, Braves continue series vs. rookie Cole, Nats

National League East rivals Atlanta and Washington square off in the second game of a three-game series Tuesday at Turner Field.

Nationals ace right-hander Max Scherzer will not make his scheduled start as he recovers from a strained right thumb he injured while batting last Thursday. The Nationals will instead start rookie A.J. Cole, the team's No. 3-ranked prospect according to MLB.com. The right-hander will be making his Major League debut.

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John Donovan is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cahill shows improvement, settles down after homer

Right-hander goes six innings after giving up three-run shot in the first

Cahill shows improvement, settles down after homer

PHILADELPHIA -- Given that he was once an All-Star pitcher, Atlanta right-hander Trevor Cahill might not be comfortable with the fact that his completion of six innings is now viewed as progress.

Cahill certainly showed some improvement as he tossed six innings during Sunday afternoon's 5-4 loss to the Phillies. But the 27-year-old surrendered a three-run home run to Ryan Howard in the first inning and allowed Ben Revere a go-ahead triple in the fifth inning.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Freeman's miscues especially costly vs. Phils

Braves first baseman's errors allow winning run to score in two games

Freeman's miscues especially costly vs. Phils

PHILADELPHIA -- When the Braves began this nine-game road trip by taking two of three against the Blue Jays, it appeared Freddie Freeman had distanced himself from the offensive misfortune he had experienced during the regular season's first two weeks.

But as the Braves completed a 3-6 trip with Sunday afternoon's 5-4 loss to the Phillies, Freeman had no reason to be encouraged by what had transpired over the past week. The frustration created by his limited offensive production was trumped by the two critical errors he committed this weekend at Citizens Bank Park.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cahill uneven, Braves fall after fast start

Cahill uneven, Braves fall after fast start

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies have been searching for any type of momentum this month, and they hope they found some Sunday with a 5-4 victory over the Braves at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies won just their second series of the season as they begin a 10-game road trip Monday through St. Louis, Miami and Atlanta. Ryan Howard and Ben Revere led the way offensively, knocking in four of the Phillies' five runs, and Phillies right-hander Jerome Williams settled in after a rough first inning, allowing one run over his final 5 2/3.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter. Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bethancourt up to task of earning everyday role

Catcher sharing duties with Pierzynski, who has started season on a tear

Bethancourt up to task of earning everyday role

PHILADELPHIA -- As Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has utilized A.J. Pierzynski as his primary catcher over the past 10 days, he has said he wants to stick with the "hot bat" and also remind Christian Bethancourt that he has to earn the starting role at the Major League level.

Bethancourt was back behind the plate for Sunday afternoon's 5-4 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Pierzynski had served as Atlanta's starting catcher in seven of the previous 10 games.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves end scoreless streak, rally past Phillies

Braves end scoreless streak, rally past Phillies

PHILADELPHIA -- The Braves snapped a 20-inning scoreless drought and ruined David Buchanan's strong start by producing a decisive three-run seventh inning in Saturday night's 5-2 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

Eric Young Jr.'s two-out RBI double off Jake Diekman capped the go-ahead seventh that was sparked by Andrelton Simmons' leadoff home run. Before allowing Simmons to line his shot over the left-center-field wall, Buchanan had surrendered just one hit against the Braves, who had tallied just two hits while getting shut out in Friday's series opener.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Jed Weisberger is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves refuse to 'mail it in' amid hitting woes

Braves refuse to 'mail it in' amid hitting woes

PHILADELPHIA -- Like the four straight losses that preceded Saturday night's 5-2 win over the Phillies did not guarantee impending doom, one victory does not completely erase the concerns the Braves have created over the past 10 days.

But the three-run, two-out rally produced during Saturday's seventh inning at least indicated the Braves are capable of proving resilient. Before creating this rally, they had extended their scoreless-innings streak to 20 and tallied hits in just two of the first 15 innings of this three-game series at Citizens Bank Park.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miller works around homer in latest sharp start

Miller works around homer in latest sharp start

PHILADELPHIA -- When the Braves acquired Shelby Miller in exchange for Jason Heyward in November, they described him as a potential top-of-the-rotation starter. Based on what has been provided through this season's first three weeks, they could justifiably remove "potential" from that description.

Miller delivered his most impressive effort of this young season as he completed six strong innings during Saturday night's 5-2 win over the Phillies. The only two runs he surrendered came courtesy of Ryan Howard's latest home run against a Braves pitcher.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Freeman, Braves know their defense must improve

Freeman, Braves know their defense must improve

PHILADELPHIA -- Freddie Freeman could not hide his frustration after the Braves suffered their fourth consecutive loss with a tough offensive and defensive performance at Citizens Bank Park on Friday night.

His game-ending error had provided the Phillies a 1-0 victory. But his dismay extended beyond what he had not done with his glove.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wood, Braves pitching staff very impressive

Wood, Braves pitching staff very impressive

PHILADELPHIA -- Though Jim Johnson's recent frustrations were enhanced during Friday night's 1-0 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, the recently-maligned Braves bullpen had no reason to be ashamed of the effort it provided in this latest setback.

The Braves bullpen stranded seven inherited runners, including each of the three Alex Wood handed to Cody Martin in the seventh inning. But in the end, they could not overcome an ugly ninth inning that concluded when Freddy Galvis scored with the assistance of a passed ball charged to A.J. Pierzynski and Freddie Freeman's game-ending error.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wood pitches well, but errors cost Braves

Wood pitches well, but errors cost Braves

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies have scored the fewest runs in baseball this season, but they got the pitching performance they needed Friday in a 1-0 walk-off victory over the Braves at Citizens Bank Park.

Aaron Harang threw eight scoreless innings and Ken Giles pitched a scoreless ninth, setting up the Phillies' game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth. Freddy Galvis singled, reached second on a sacrifice bunt, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored when Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman could not handle a ground ball from Ben Revere.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves send for Kohn, Cornely to reinforce 'pen

Right-handers join club as it begins series in Philadelphia

Braves send for Kohn, Cornely to reinforce 'pen

PHILADELPHIA -- Shortly after arriving in Durham, N.C., with their Triple-A Gwinnett teammates late Thursday evening, right-handed relievers Michael Kohn and John Cornely learned they were being promoted to the Major League level to aid the Braves' battered and fatigued bullpen.

Kohn and Cornely were placed on Atlanta's active roster before Friday night's series opener against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. To create roster spots for their two latest bullpen additions, the Braves optioned right-handed relievers Brandon Cunniff and Sugar Ray Marimon to Gwinnett.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hot-hitting Pierzynski earning time over Bethancourt

Veteran catcher hitting over .400 with three homers in his first seven games

Hot-hitting Pierzynski earning time over Bethancourt

NEW YORK -- Though the Braves entered this season with the expectation that Christian Bethancourt would serve as their primary catcher, manager Fredi Gonzalez has opted to frequently put the hot-hitting A.J. Pierzynski behind the plate over the past week.

Coming off Wednesday night's three-hit performance, Pierzynski was behind the plate again for the entirety of Thursday afternoon's 6-3 loss to the Mets. This marked the fifth time in a span of eight games that Bethancourt served as Atlanta's backup catcher.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Walks come around to bite Braves as Mets roll on

Walks come around to bite Braves as Mets roll on

NEW YORK -- Looking back on his club's first homestand, Mets manager Terry Collins admitted that he returned to Citi Field hoping for six, maybe seven victories. The Mets wound up with 10, completing their perfect run with a 6-3 win over the Braves on Thursday afternoon to tie a franchise-record 11-game winning streak.

Behind Bartolo Colon's fourth consecutive victory and Daniel Murphy's four RBIs, they matched their 1986 predecessors for the best 16-game start in Mets history, while improving their league-leading record to 13-3.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Teheran unable to find grip in chilly conditions

Braves starter issues 5 walks in 4 1/3 innings against red-hot Mets

Teheran unable to find grip in chilly conditions

NEW YORK -- Instead of delivering a lengthy start to save the Braves' recently exposed bullpen, Julio Teheran allowed himself to be affected by the chilly elements Thursday afternoon at Citi Field. The weather did not seem to bother the red-hot Mets, who ran their winning streak to 11 games with a 6-3 victory.

"I don't like to make excuses, but [the weather] was affecting me a little bit," Teheran said. "I couldn't find my grip."

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Julio Teheran attempts to eat a baseball

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Julio Teheran attempts to eat a baseball

Braves starter Julio Teheran walked three of the first four Mets batters to begin Thursday afternoon's National League East matchup. Loading the bases like that in the first inning would make any pitcher turn on the very tools at his disposal. The mere sight of a baseball might make one burn with fury.

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Braves' run on review of collision ruling perplexes Mets

Call overturned on Recker's tag of Pierzynski in 2nd inning due to clear-path violation

Braves' run on review of collision ruling perplexes Mets

NEW YORK -- The Braves were credited with a run in the second inning Thursday when umpires ruled that Mets catcher Anthony Recker did not provide a clear lane for A.J. Pierzynski to score.

That's the explanation the Mets received from umpires after a review, but many were still confused by it after New York's 6-3 win.

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Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Johnson points to unlucky results in bullpen's struggles

Johnson points to unlucky results in bullpen's struggles

NEW YORK -- As the Braves have struggled to extend their early-season success over the past week, their inexperienced bullpen has proven to be a liability. But the most concerning aspect for the Braves stems from the recent struggles endured by Jim Johnson, who retired just one of the five batters he faced during Wednesday night's 3-2 loss to the Mets.

"I look at the execution on pitches and I feel like I executed a lot of pitches," Johnson said. "Three days a week isn't going to define my season. I know the ups and downs of a year, and it seems like a little luck went their way."

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Eric Young Jr. power-bunted into right field

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Eric Young Jr. power-bunted into right field

Eric Young Jr. is probably Popeye, and before Thursday afternoon's Braves-Mets game, he probably ate a can of spinach.

In the first at-bat of the game, the center fielder was not bounded by the constraints of physical strength. His leadoff bunt -- you know, those hits that typically don't travel past the infield -- sailed into right field.

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Braves' loss takes shine off Stults' stellar start

Left-hander minimizes early damage, allows one run over six innings

Braves' loss takes shine off Stults' stellar start

NEW YORK -- Eric Stults provided the Braves exactly what they needed on Wednesday night at Citi Field. But after at least halting concerns about the back end of Atlanta's rotation, the veteran left-hander watched a suddenly leaky bullpen allow the red-hot Mets to claim a 3-2 victory at Citi Field.

"Unfortunately, we weren't able to pull it out tonight," Stults said. "But as a starter, you want to go out and give your team a chance to win. I was able to do that. It just didn't go our way tonight."

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Aaron leading in MLB-wide, Braves Franchise Four vote

Aaron leading in MLB-wide, Braves Franchise Four vote

NEW YORK -- Hank Aaron currently leads the Greatest Living Player category and ranks ahead of all of the Braves greats who have drawn votes through the first two weeks of balloting for Major League Baseball's Franchise Four campaign.

In the balloting to choose the four greatest players in Braves history, Aaron ranks ahead of Chipper Jones, Greg Maddux and Warren Spahn. The other four candidates in this category include Tom Glavine, Eddie Mathews, Dale Murphy and John Smoltz.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Feigl's chance to join 'pen dashed by Tommy John surgery

After strong showing in Braves camp, lefty has procedure on injured elbow

Feigl's chance to join 'pen dashed by Tommy John surgery

NEW YORK -- Brady Feigl exited Spring Training knowing he had a chance to join the Braves' bullpen at some point this season. But less than a week later, the left-handed reliever suffered a left elbow injury that proved significant enough to require Tommy John surgery.

Dr. James Andrews performed the surgical procedure on Tuesday after confirming that Feigl had a torn ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow. The standard rehab process is 12 months, so the 24-year-old reliever might be limited during the early portion of next year's Spring Training.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Stults' solid outing not enough to cool off Mets

Stults' solid outing not enough to cool off Mets

NEW YORK -- As injured players continue to populate their training room, the Mets extended their impressive winning streak to 10 straight games on Wednesday night, twice coming from behind to take a 3-2 victory from the Braves at Citi Field.

Lucas Duda put the Mets ahead for good with an opposite-field RBI single off Jim Johnson in the eighth inning, after Wilmer Flores twice came through with game-tying hits. That gave the Mets their first 10-game winning streak since July 5-17, 2008.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Marty Noble

Mets-Braves rivalry rediscovering cachet

Mets-Braves rivalry rediscovering cachet

NEW YORK -- The Braves are here. Has anyone noticed? And among those who are aware of their presence, are there some who are passionate -- one way of the other -- about the "A" team? Does anyone here hate them, fear them, like them, root for or against them? Does anyone here in the Big City or in the big Citi give a wit that the second-place team in the National League East is in town for three nights to engage the first-place New York Mets?

It seemed not on Tuesday evening, when Jon Niese and troubled Trevor Cahill -- his ERA coming in was a robust 15.43 -- were to pitch opposite each other, and when the hottest team in the league put the game's longest active winning streak on the line against the surprisingly buoyant Bravos.

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Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.