Atlanta Braves' Tyler Flowers rounds third after hitting a solo home run off Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Francisco Liriano during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Wednesday, May 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Gene J. Puskar
May 18, 2016

PITTSBURGH (AP) Given that it took four decades for Brian Snitker to become a big-league manager, he wasn't going to be picky about his first victory in the majors.

Still, there was something about the way the Atlanta Braves played in a crisp 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night that will stick with him. For a few hours, the team with the worst record in baseball didn't play like it.

Julio Teheran allowed five hits in 7 2/3 efficient innings, Tyler Flowers hit a home run to the bushes in center field while going 3 for 4 as the Braves began to put Fredi Gonzalez's firing on Tuesday firmly in the rearview mirror.

''It's a good team win,'' Snitker said. ''It's good all around. We caught the ball well and Julio just kind of fed off of all the runs he got and just did a great job.''

Teheran (1-4) struck out three without a walk to end six weeks of frustration. Though Atlanta is in the midst of what could be a long rebuilding process, the Braves do have Teheran, who has pitched well but not been rewarded with a victory thanks mostly to an offense that mustered all off 17 runs combined in his first eight starts.

The offense wasn't much better against Francisco Liriano, but Teheran was so sharp it didn't matter.

''I was trying to do my job and I did it the whole game,'' Teheran said. ''I was making pitches. I knew I was facing one of the good lineups of the league and was just trying to not make mistakes.''

Arodys Vizcaino gave up a ninth-inning home run to Jung Ho Kang but got the final four outs for his fourth save.

Liriano (3-3) pitched seven strong innings after getting rocked in his previous start last week against the Chicago Cubs but the Pirates lost for the first time in Liriano's last 14 starts at PNC Park. A night after pounding out 12 runs on a season-high 21 hits, Pittsburgh never made it to third base with Teheran on the mound.

''He changed speeds so well,'' Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. ''He hit the locations he wanted to all night long. The last two nights we were swinging the bats pretty well, he kept it from out over the middle. He kept it down.''

The victory was a long time coming for Snitker, who has spent nearly four decades in the Atlanta organization in various capacities at various levels as a player, coach and manager. He took over for Gonzalez on Tuesday and a night after getting a good long look at his team's current state in a disjointed 12-9 defeat, he saw a glimpse of something he hopes the club can build on.

Atlanta improved to 10-29 with the win, still the worst record in the big leagues, but avoided the worst 39-game start in franchise history. Freddie Freeman delivered an RBI single in the third and Flowers hit his first home run with the Braves in the sixth.

Pittsburgh hadn't lost a game Liriano started at home in 11 months. While he was much improved after the Cubs knocked him around for eight runs in 4 2/3 innings last Friday - striking out four and walking two - the Pirates could do little to get to Teheran. Kang's fifth home run in nine games since recovering from a broken left leg provided the only offense.

MINOR MOVES

The Braves sent scuffling rookie pitcher Aaron Blair back to Triple-A Gwinnett on Wednesday after a shaky outing in a 12-9 loss on Tuesday in which the 23-year-old prospect failed to get out of the second inning. Blair's ERA ballooned to 7.59 after getting charged with nine runs while recording only four outs in his fifth career start.

''I told him, it's not a bad thing,'' Snitker said. ''There's a lot of guys that go down and when they come back they're a lot more prepared for what they're going to be in for.''

UP NEXT

Braves: Mike Foltynewicz (1-1, 2.89 ERA) makes his fourth start of the season when the series wraps up Thursday. The 24-year-old is coming off eight shutout innings against World Series champion Kansas City last Saturday.

Pirates: Jeff Locke (1-3, 5.45) goes for his first victory in nearly a month. The left-hander is 0-1 with a 5.89 ERA in May and was touched for six runs in 5 1/3 innings in a loss to the Cubs last weekend.

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