Good news: James Shields outpitched Chris Sale and Jose Quintana this series.
Bad news: He received less support than Sale and Quintana.
The White Sox’ five-series winning streak came to an end because of that. Eight runs wasn’t enough to win Sale’s start, but it would’ve been more than enough today. Alas, the Sox instead looked like a team that could really use a few days off.
Shields gave up solo shots in the second and third inning, but otherwise kept the Braves off the board over 7⅔ innings, his longest start of the year for either the Sox or Padres. It just didn’t matter, as Mike Foltynewicz and the Braves bullpen overpowered the Sox. Forget runs — Braves pitching limited the Sox to just one plate appearance with runners in scoring position.
Foltynewicz, the Minooka product, struck out 10 batters while allowing just five singles, and the Sox were only able to bunch them together once. With two outs in the third inning, J.B. Shuck singled and took third on Tim Anderson’s base hit. Adam Eaton followed with a prolonged battle down 0-2, but after three foul balls, his soft fly to left field ended up in Chase d’Arnaud’s glove.
That was the Sox’ only shot off Foltznewicz, who was as advertised, with high-90’s heat and two different breaking balls. He did make a few mistakes, but the Sox couldn’t capitalize.
The Sox were vaguely more threatening after Foltynewicz departed. Avisail Garcia, who struck out in his first two at-bats, put the best swing of the day on an elevated outer-half slider from Chris Withrow in the eighth inning, but Nick Markakis caught it against the wall. Jose Abreu then tried to start a ninth-inning rally off Jim Johnson with a single, but Melky Cabrera grounded into a double play to end it.
Anderson provided the only real moment of excitement for the fans. After Jace Peterson led off the eighth with a single, Anderson foiled the hit-and-run by snaring d’Arnaud’s line drive to center with a leap, then tagging out Peterson for the double play.
Those were the last two outs Shields recorded, as Freddie Freeman chased him with a double. Zach Duke stranded him with a groundout to keep the positive momentum on Shields’ side, at least personally. The Sox will have to start another streak of their own when the second half begins.
*Dioner Navarro struck out in all three at-bats. He went 0-for-12 with five strikeouts and a double play this series.
*Anderson and Abreu went 5-for-8. The rest of the lineup? 1-for-23.
*The White Sox optioned Chris Beck to Charlotte after the game.