CINCINNATI -- The Atlanta Braves have had 41 games decided by one run this season and nearly half of them were losses. On Thursday night, the only thing causing manager Fredi Gonzalez to sweat was the humidity, and keeping right-handed starter Julio Teheran fresh between lengthy innings.
Teheran pitched six shutout innings and shortstop Andrelton Simmons homered, lifting the Atlanta Braves to an 8-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the opener of a four-game series at Great American Ball Park.
"It was tough to pitch today," Gonzalez said. "We had some long innings, put some big numbers up, had some quality plate appearances. We kept the line moving. Julio kept his concentration. He was sitting on the bench a long time."
Atlanta (67-61) won for the sixth time in eight games to remain within seven games of the first-place Washington Nationals in the National League East standings.
Teheran (12-9) allowed just four hits in six innings with no walks and three strikeouts. It was his 21st quality start this season.
"I was trying to stay warm, stay loose," said Teheran. "I was trying to battle with the weather, the humidity. Sometimes the ball will slide off your hands. Sometimes when you have a big lead you just try to concentrate and do your thing."
Left fielder Justin Upton went 2-for-3 with three RBIs for the Braves.
Cincinnati (61-67) has lost six straight and is 10-23 since the All-Star break, dropping them farther out of postseason contention.
Reds starter David Holmberg (0-1) was promoted from Triple-A on Thursday and allowed six earned runs, walked four and hit two batters in 2 2/3 innings.
"We were hoping for a few more innings from him and it didn't work out," said Reds manager Bryan Price. "With runners on, he'd reach back and try to throw harder. They figured out pretty quickly that when he needed a pitch, he was going to a changeup, and they put the barrel on a couple of them."
Left fielder Skip Schumaker pitched a scoreless ninth inning for Cincinnati, becoming the first Reds position player to pitch since 2009.
"When your highlight is Skip Schumaker pitching, that says enough about the game," said Price.
Holmberg, who made a spot start in the nightcap of a doubleheader on July 8 and gave up five earned runs including three homers, was hit hard early again Thursday.
In the second inning, Holmberg hung a 75 mph breaking ball to Simmons, who sent it sailing into the left field stands to put the Braves ahead 1-0.
The Braves, who are 21-20 in one-run games this season, erupted for five runs in the third after the umpires correctly upheld a manager's challenge that Schumaker trapped right fielder Jason Heyward's pop fly.
Atlanta loaded the bases with no outs, and Upton's single drove home two runs to make the score 3-0. Third baseman Chris Johnson doubled off the wall to drive home the fourth run. A sacrifice fly by catcher Evan Gattis made the score 5-0.
"That's definitely not what I wanted to do," said Holmberg. "This team needed to win a game and I wanted to go out there and try to win the ballgame. I didn't stay focused. The snowball effect you get at this level was a factor."
It went from bad to worse for Holmberg, who intentionally walked center fielder B.J. Upton to get to Teheran, who was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Holmberg then walked Heyward to drive in the Braves' sixth run.
"It was a good team win," said first baseman Freddie Freeman. "We came out swinging the bats well. We got on them early. Julio was awesome again tonight."
NOTES: Cincinnati promoted RHP David Holmberg and RHP Pedro Villarreal from Triple-A Louisville and optioned RHP J.J. Hoover and RHP Carlos Contreras to Triple-A on Thursday. Hoover is in the midst of a 10-game losing streak, longest in club history for a reliever. ... Entering Thursday's action, the Braves led the National League with a 17-8 record this season against NL Central opponents, including 3-0 against Cincinnati. ... Braves CF B.J. Upton celebrated his 30th birthday on Thursday. ... Braves 1B Freddie Freeman made his 128th start this season. Freeman and Giants OF Hunter Pence are the only major league players to start every game for their clubs. ... Braves LF Justin Upton's third-inning single extended his hitting streak to 12 games. ... Reds RHP Pedro Villarreal singled in the third inning for his first career hit.