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Arizona still looking for consistency in rotation

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GEORGE HENRY | June 29, 2013 12:29 AM EST | AP


ATLANTA — The Arizona Diamondbacks were hoping Randall Delgado would end a recent ugly streak by their starting pitchers.

Delgado pitched well enough to give the Diamondbacks a chance, but manager Kirk Gibson still needs someone in his rotation to pick up the slack.

That was particularly important on a night when Arizona's offense was shut out for the first time since last Sept. 26.

"It's going to happen," Gibson said. "It's baseball. It's not odd at all. It's probably odder that we've scored in all these games. We have to regroup tomorrow. We'll get back after it."

Delgado was undermined Friday night as the Diamondbacks failed to score for the first time in 85 games and lost 3-0 to the Atlanta Braves.

Julio Teheran pitched six strong innings and Andrelton Simmons homered for the Braves, who have won three of four and lead second-place Washington by 5 1/2 games in the NL East.

The NL West-leading Diamondbacks have lost three of four, and they need improvement from a rotation that's 0-8 in 20 starts since Wade Miley won at St. Louis on June 5.

Delgado and Martin Prado returned to Turner Field for the first time since the Braves traded them to Arizona in January for Justin Upton and Chris Johnson.

Both were warmly welcomed by the near capacity crowd that showed up to celebrate the jersey retirement of former Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones.

"I was a little concerned," Prado said. "I didn't know how people were going to react. Today they showed me that everything I did for the team paid off."

Teheran (6-4) allowed four hits, one walk and struck out 10.

Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel earned his 23rd save in 26 chances. After Aaron Hill grounded out, Kimbrel walked Paul Goldschmidt and then Miguel Montero grounded into a double play.

The Braves went up 1-0 in the first when Jason Heyward doubled and scored from second on Justin Upton's RBI single. Diamondbacks starter Randall Delgado avoided further damage with two runners in scoring position by striking out Dan Uggla.

Teheran stranded runners in scoring position in the first with strikeouts of Paul Goldschmidt and Miguel Montero and in the third with a strikeout of Gerardo Parra and Aaron Hill's groundout.

Teheran, whose night ended when Tyler Pastornicky pinch-hit for him in the bottom of the sixth, has a 0.98 ERA in winning two of his last three starts.

"He was actually spotting and using his secondary pitches real well and mixing it up," Prado said. "I think that (catcher Brian McCann) called a real good game. We didn't execute. We didn't make any adjustments against him."

Luis Avilan, the second Atlanta pitcher, threw five straight balls before Jason Kubel hit into a forceout and Cody Ross grounded into a double play.

Avilan retired the four batters he faced before Jordan Walden got the last two outs of the eighth.

Delgado (0-2) gave up eight hits, two runs and three walks. He struck out three and threw 64 of 106 pitches for strikes.

Delgado escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fourth when Teheran grounded into a double play.

Atlanta made it 2-0 in the fifth when Simmons' sixth homer landed in the left-field seats.

Parra, Goldschmidt, Montero, Kubel and Ross were a combined 0 for 16 with two walks and 10 strikeouts.

Zeke Spruill, the fourth Arizona pitcher, gave up a leadoff triple to Dan Uggla, who scored on pinch-hitter Reed Johnson's pinch-hit RBI bunt single to give the Braves a 3-0 lead.

"We didn't have much going," Gibson said. "Teheran threw a really good game. Randall threw good for us, actually. We just couldn't mount any kind of offensive attack against him."

NOTES: Arizona reinstated 3B Eric Chavez from the 15-day disabled list and designated INF Eric Hinske for assignment. Chavez had been on the DL since straining his right oblique on May 30 against Texas. Before the injury, he was hitting .325 with seven homers and 25 RBIs in 38 games after signing with the Diamondbacks during the offseason. ... Gibson said that closer J.J. Putz is likely to be activated before Saturday's 4:05 p.m. game. ... Spruill was optioned to the minors after the game. ... The Braves are 42-9 when they hit a homer. ... Atlanta INF Ramiro Pena had season-ending surgery to repair a tear in the back of his right shoulder. Pena, a three-year veteran in his first season with the Braves, will be out until the start of spring training next year. ... Arizona hitting coach Don Baylor, who held the same role with Atlanta when Jones won his NL MVP award in 1999, celebrated his 64th birthday on Friday. ... The Braves announced a sellout of 48,282, though several hundred seats were empty.