Top Atlanta Braves prospect Julio Teheran suffered a miserable outing in his Spring Training debut Sunday, allowing six home runs over two innings as the Braves fell to the host Tigers, 18-3, in Lakeland, Fla.
Teheran, a 21-year-old native of Colombia, entered camp as MLB.com's No. 4 Prospect and topped the list of right-handed prospects. He went 15-3 with a 2.55 ERA for Triple-A Gwinnett last season en route to earning a host of honors, including International League Pitcher of the Year and MLB.com Triple-A Starter of the Year. Teheran surrendered just five longballs over 144 2/3 Minor League frames in 2011, but yielded four in 19 2/3 innings for the big league Braves.
The Tigers pounced on the Braves early Sunday afternoon, touching up starter Randall Delgado for four earned runs on two hits -- one of them a two-run shot by Alex Avila -- and a pair of walks in the first inning.
"I didn't have my control today," Delgado, who ranks as 42nd on MLB.com's prospects list, told MLB.com. "I fell behind in the count. Every time you fall behind, you're going to be hit if you don't make your pitches. That's what happened today."
Teheran got off to a strong start in the second, fanning Detroit designated hitter Andy Dirks on three straight pitches. After falling behind to Ryan Rayburn, 3-0, Teheran battled back to a full count before the Tigers second baseman sent his sixth pitch over the right-field fence.
After Austin Jackson lined out to left, Brennan Boesch blasted an 0-1 pitch to right to give the Tigers a 6-0 lead. Third baseman Miguel Cabrera grounded out to third to end the frame.
Things got no easier for Teheran in the third as Prince Fielder crushed a towering shot to right for his first homer in a Tigers uniform, followed by a Delmon Young blast to left on the very next pitch.
Teheran walked Avila on four straight pitches before yielding his fifth homer of the game to Jhonny Peralta. Jackson added a two-out solo shot to close out the scoring.
"I think that's a [good] experience to have, and I'm going to be ready the next time," Teheran told MLB.com.
Just one of the five Minor League homers Teheran allowed last season was hit by a right-handed hitter. Four of the six blasts he surrendered Sunday were to righties. Two of them -- Rayburn's and Young's -- went to right field, as did those by lefties Boesch and Fielder.
"It was just a tough day to pitch," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told MLB.com. "They still scored 18 runs, but I think there were about four or five balls that, on a normal day, don't go out."
No Major League pitcher has ever allowed six homers in two frames in a regular-season contest.
Teheran was charged with seven earned runs on six hits and one walk while striking out one.
The Tigers added two more homers later in the game, making nine in total, with Rayburn adding a second blast and Danny Worth contributing a solo shot. The Braves managed just eight hits in the contest, with just one (an Ernesto Mejia triple) for extra bases.
Tigers starter Max Scherzer earned his first victory of the Spring after giving up three hits over two scoreless frames. He struck out two.
Delgado took the loss for the Braves, who fell to 0-2 in Grapefruit League play.
Delgado and Teheran are expected to start one end of the split-squad games scheduled against the Yankees and Mets on Friday.
"You want to see how they react the next time out," Gonzalez told MLB.com. "But there is no doubt in my mind that they'll be fine."