Considering the White Sox led this game 5-1 early, it’s a little frustrating that it ended with Nate Jones stranding the bases loaded.
But as we know, it’s hard to complain about any way Jose Quintana picks up a win. Regardless of how it happened, the White Sox are one win away from closing out the first half with six consecutive series victories.
One day after Chris Sale gave up three homers, Quintana allowed a trio of his own. Unlike Sale, Quintana was able to limit the other damage, after which his bid for a win was protected by a bullpen without the services of David Robertson, who Robin Ventura said has a problem with his leg.
Jones recorded a four-out save, needing to summon stones after intentional walks to close out both innings. In the eighth, he entered with two on and two out after a perfectly predictable sequence.
Duke staying in for the start of the 8th, Albers on hand if the Sox need to allow a ringing double to a right-handed hitter— James Fegan (@JRFegan) July 9, 2016
Yup, Albers gave up a double -- albeit softer than "ringing" -- and, after a groundout, walked Freddie Freeman before setting up Jones against Nick Markakis. He fanned Markakis with a 3-2 slider to end that threat.
Jones made his own mess in the ninth because he couldn’t locate a comebacker that hit his hip. A.J. Pierzynski followed with a single, and a wild pitch moved both runners up with just one out. Jones bounced back by striking out Erick Aybar. After a brief conference with Ventura, he then walked Ender Inciarte to bring up Chase d’Arnaud, who grounded out to third to bring the game to a merciful end (credit Jose Abreu’s scoop on Todd Frazier’s low throw).
This could have been easier, as the White Sox offense showed up early against Julio Teheran. After Gordon Beckham homered off Quintana in the first, the Sox took over the lead when Frazier followed a Melky Cabrera single with a two-run shot over the left-center wall, his 25th.
They struck for three more in the third with a sustained attack. J.B. Shuck and Tim Anderson singled, a balk two batters later moved them up 90 feet. Jose Abreu and Melky Cabrera struck for RBI singles, and Todd Frazier slashed a run-scoring double to right to give the Sox a 5-1 lead.
They couldn’t get a sixth run, even though they had two decent opportunities. First, Teheran stranded runners on second and third with a pair of groundouts to end the third, settling down for a bit afterward. Later in the seventh, the Sox had runners on second and third with nobody out when the Braves made two errors on the first two batters, but three groundouts couldn’t get one run across the plate.
All the while, the Braves chipped away with the long ball. Jeff Francoeur hit a line drive out to left for a two-run shot int he fourth, and Freddie Freeman did the same in the sixth, with the ball barely clearing Cabrera’s glove and glancing off the padding for a solo shot, narrowing the lead to one.
Brett Lawrie helped get Quintana out of further trouble with a sliding stop and throw on Francoeur’s grounder to end the sixth, and Duke settled the game down with a 1-2-3 seventh, continuing his strong run of relief work.
*The Quintana-Teheran matchup made this the first MLB game to feature two Colombian starters.
*Pierzynski replaced Tyler Flowers, who left during the second inning with what was described as a hand strain (corrected).
*Frazier robbed Pierzynski of a cheap shift single with a great backhand play and cross-body throw