WASHINGTON -- The Braves have seen Julio Teheran develop into one of their most dependable starters as this season has progressed. During Tuesday night's win over the Nationals, they saw Teheran take another positive step in the maturation process by showing great poise after being involved in a benches-clearing verbal exchange with Bryce Harper.
Harper hit a third-inning solo home run off Teheran and then got drilled in the right thigh with the first-pitch fastball Teheran threw him in his next at-bat. Harper stared at the 22-year-old Braves pitcher and expressed his displeasure with some choice words as he made his way toward first base. Teheran did not back down as he walked toward Harper during the verbal spat.
Once order was restored after the incident that drew nothing more than verbal exchanges, Teheran was tasked with preserving his club's one-run lead with runners at first and second and just one out in the fifth. He did so by retiring the next two batters he faced -- Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth.
"Usually the baseball gods have a tendency -- if you're doing things you're not supposed to be doing, those innings become five-run innings," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He held his composure."
Teheran ended up allowing just one run during the six innings he completed on Tuesday. He has now allowed fewer than two runs in each of his past four starts and a total of 10 times this season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is the highest total by a Braves pitcher 22 years old or younger since Steve Avery did so in 11 such starts during the 1992 season.
Wren issues apology for Twitter spat with Nats
WASHINGTON -- As the Braves prepared for Wednesday's series finale against the Nationals, they did not anticipate any lingering effects from the benches-clearing incident that was sparked after Julio Teheran hit Bryce Harper with a first-pitch fastball in the fifth inning Tuesday.
After the players exchanged nothing more than words, the Braves and Nationals exchanged tweets from their official accounts that drew widespread attention. The Braves started the Twitter spat by tweeting, "Clown move bro," in reference to Harper, who once famously replied to a reporter's question by saying, "That's a clown question, bro."
The Nationals responded by tweeting, "Which part, giving up the home run, or drilling the 20-year-old on the first pitch his next time up?"
While that was the end of the brief spat, Braves general manager Frank Wren issued an apology on his team's behalf early Wednesday evening.
"I think it was simply an inappropriate attempt at humor from our social media department," Wren said. "It doesn't reflect how we feel or how we want to do business or who we are. You shouldn't be directing anything unless it's positive or uplifting to another team or an opponent. I think that is plain and simple."
Another lingering social media effect from the incident was the circulation of what appeared to be a photoshopped image of Brian McCann signaling for a pitch to Harper by putting simply his middle finger down.
McCann said late Tuesday night and again on Wednesday that the image had been altered.
"You can look at the video," McCann confidently said.
Heyward back in lineup after neck issue subsides
WASHINGTON -- Jason Heyward returned to the Braves' lineup on Wednesday with no reason to worry about the freak neck ailment that forced him to exit Tuesday night's game against the Nationals in the first inning.
When Heyward awoke on Wednesday morning, he was no longer dealing with the headache he developed after he fouled the second pitch of Tuesday's game and felt a sensation run up his neck and through the back of his head as he stepped out of the batter's box.
"I've never had that before," Heyward said. "I'm glad we got it [addressed] last night and I feel better."
The 12-game winning streak the Braves carried into Wednesday began the day Heyward was moved into the leadoff spot. Heyward has batted .310 with a .420 on-base percentage and a .548 slugging percentage during this span. And he continued his success by stroking a double leading off Wednesday's game and then coming around to score on Freddie Freeman's RBI single.
"I want to be in every game I can," Heyward said. "It's a fun time of year for us. It's a good time of year for us. Every win counts for us right now. We've got to keep it going."
• Jordan Schafer could be activated from the disabled list as early as Friday. Schafer, who has been sidelined since July 3 with a stress fracture in his right foot, entered Wednesday having recorded just one hit in 18 at-bats in five Minor League rehab games with Triple-A Gwinnett.
• Paul Maholm was encouraged with the spin he was able to generate while throwing his curveball during a 55-pitch bullpen session he completed on Tuesday. Maholm, who has been sidelined since July 20 with a bruised left wrist, will throw one more bullpen session and then complete a simulated game on Monday before aiming to make a rehab start with one of the organization's Minor League clubs next week.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.