EVEN WITHOUT an effective changeup, Julio Teheran still had enough to pitch into the ninth inning.
"I decided to just compete with my other pitches," he said. "I know my fastball is good, my two-seamer, so I just tried to command my curve and my slider."
Teheran pitched 8 1/3 strong innings, Dan Uggla hit a three-run homer and the Atlanta Braves won their fourth straight game with a 5-1 victory over the struggling Minnesota Twins yesterday.
Teheran (3-1) gave up five hits, one run - Josh Willingham's homer in the ninth - and one walk. He struck out four, throwing 80 of his 123 pitches for strikes.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez gave Teheran a chance to finish the game, but he and pitching coach Roger McDowell had agreed before the ninth that they wouldn't let the 22-year-old go past 125 pitches.
Teheran noticed in his pregame bullpen session that he wouldn't be able to rely too much on his changeup. He tried it against a few batters early in the game, but stuck with what was working instead of forcing the pitch on catcher Gerald Laird.
"For the experience of being out there in the ninth inning - maybe he was a little tired - but you've got to dig deep a little bit," Gonzalez said. "It was good for him."
Cory Gearrin earned his first career save by retiring pinch-hitter Oswaldo Arcia on a flyout that gave Minnesota its sixth straight loss.
After rallying in the late innings to win three straight from th Dodgers over the weekend, Atlanta jumped on Twins starter Kevin Correia (4-4) early.
"He said it - his arm was dragging tonight," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He just couldn't get the whip in it, couldn't get the ball where he wanted to, I think. Normally he's really good locating the baseball, and he was up."
In AL games *
At Cleveland, Yan Gomes hit a three-run homer in the 10th inning and the Indians, twice revived by Seattle's fielding errors, beat the Mariners, 10-8, to complete a four-game sweep. Joe Smith (2-0) won despite giving up a go-ahead homer to Justin Smoak in the 10th.
* At Toronto, R.A. Dickey (4-5) won his second straight start, Edwin Encarnacion hit a tiebreaking, bases-loaded double in the seventh inning, and the Blue Jays beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 7-5.
* At Baltimore, Vernon Wells doubled in the tiebreaking run in the 10th inning and the New York Yankees hit four solo homers in a 6-4 victory over the Orioles, their sixth straight loss.
* At Arlington, Seth Smith homered and scored three times, Bartolo Colon (3-3) pitched seven strong innings for his first win in nearly a month and the Oakland Athletics beat the Texas Rangers, 9-2.
* At Chicago, Adam Dunn hit a three-run homer in the first inning and the White Sox handed Jon Lester (6-1) his first loss of the season with a 6-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
* At Houston, Matt Dominguez hit a three-run homer and Jason Castro added a solo shot to give the Astros a 6-5 win over the Kansas City Royals.
In NL games *
At New York, Jay Bruce hit a tiebreaking homer and drove in two runs to back Johnny Cueto's wild but effective return from the disabled list, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Mets, 4-3. Cueto (2-0) had a strained a muscle in his upper back.
* At Milwaukee, Clayton Kershaw (5-2) scattered three singles in his second complete game of the year and Matt Kemp hit his first home run since April 24, lifting the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 3-1 victory over the Brewers.
The victory was a respite for Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. He addressed speculation before the game on whether he would be fired this week, insisting he didn't feel as if he was about to be replaced.
* At Denver, Patrick Corbin tossed a three-hitter for his first complete game and struck out a career-high 10, lifting the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 5-1 win over the Colorado Rockies. Corbin (7-0) joined Randy Johnson as the only lefties in team history to begin the season 7-0. He also turned in his club-record ninth straight start where he's pitched at least six innings and allowed two runs or less.
Outfielder Bryce Harper returned to the Washington Nationals' lineup last night after missing two games because of a bruised left knee. Harper was batting third and playing rightfield in the opener of a three-game series at San Francisco. "Just tr ying to get in that lineup again and do what I can do," Harper said before batting practice at AT&T Park.