The class of the NL East is seemingly extending its lead on a daily basis.
Justin Upton blasted two home runs and Julio Teheran sparkled on the mound to lead the Atlanta Braves to a big-time, 11-2 win over the Colorado Rockies. The win completed a sweep of the Rockies for Atlanta, but more impressively, the Braves have just completed a flawless homestand with 7 consecutive victories.
For Upton, his barrage of blasts could potentially signify a turnaround in his fortunes at the plate. After a torrid start to the year, he’s been mired in a months-long slump, but after his 2-HR, 5-RBI performance, it is certainly possible that he has fixed whatever ailed him.
On the mound, Julio Teheran was absolutely spectacular for Atlanta. The youngster lasted only 5 innings due to pitch count concerns, but he struck out a staggering 11 Rockies through a 103-pitch outing. Teheran allowed only 5 hits (and 2 walks) to go along with the K’s, and his only blemish came on a Chris Dickerson sacrifice fly in the 2nd frame.
The NL’s leading hitter, Braves’ 3B Chris Johnson, extended his batting average lead with a 3-for-5 day that saw his average rise to .346. Also, the Braves got solid performances from Freddie Freeman (2-for-4, 2 runs), Jason Heyward (1-for-3, HR, 3 runs, 2 BB), and Teheran even helped himself with a 2-for-2 day at the plate that included an impressive double.
As it stands, the Braves have the largest division lead in all of baseball at 11.5 games over the Washington Nationals. While it is still too early to “call” the NL East in favor of the Braves (just think about 2011), it is becoming more and more of a formality every day, and with the way they are playing at their home ballpark (Turner Field), it would be a shock to see them do anything aside from cruising to an impressive division title.