“That was exactly what we were asking for, and then some.”
Kelly may have earned himself another opportunity as the Cardinals’ No. 5 starter.
“I like pitching, period,” he said. “To be in the rotation would be awesome but I just take the ball when they tell me and take the opportunity when I get out there.
“I’m pitching right now in the moment. I feel like my stuff is there, in the zone.”
Kelly matched Teheran through the sixth before finding trouble in the seventh.
With one out, Simmons singled and moved to third on pinch-hitter Joey Terdoslavich’s soft double to the left-center gap.
Kelly issued an intentional walk to Jason Heyward to load the bases. Right-hander Michael Maness replaced Kelly and got Justin Upton to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Teheran allowed a two-out double to Matt Holliday in the first and then walked Allen Craig. The right-hander permitted only one baserunner — Jon Jay doubled in the fifth — through the next six innings.
“I think that’s the best game I’ve ever pitched,” Teheran said. “The command I had today, I think that’s the best I’ve had this year.”
Holliday was activated off the 15-day disabled list before the game. He had been out since July 12 with a strained right hamstring.
Simmons hit eighth as Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez juggled his lineup. Heyward hit leadoff for only the second game this season. Upton, normally the No. 3 hitter, batted second for the first time in 2013.
“I know I’ve been struggling with runners in scoring position this year,” Simmons said. “I’ve been trying, but it’s nice to see results.”