Braves overcome triple play, beat White Sox 11-8
CHICAGO (AP) With the kind of season the Atlanta Braves are having, it figured they might hit into a triple play.
But last-place Atlanta ripping into White Sox ace Chris Sale is another matter.
Freddie Freeman, Tyler Flowers and Nick Markakis all homered off Sale to lead the Atlanta Braves to an 11-8 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.
Did the Braves, including Flowers - Sale's longtime batterymate in Chicago - have a special approach against the left-hander?
''Yeah, but I also think he wasn't as sharp as he usually is,'' Flowers said. ''These are the kind of days you hope to face guys of that caliber.''
The Braves might have scored more if Chicago hadn't turned its third triple play this season in the third - the only inning Atlanta didn't score against Sale (14-3) in his five innings. The White Sox ace, bidding to become the majors' first 15-game winner, allowed 10 hits - including a career-worst seven for extra bases - and a season high eight runs.
''It was kind of a weird game to start off with, but ultimately the good guys came out on top,'' Freeman said. ''We haven't scored that many runs I think in a while and get that many hits.''
Atlanta's Adonis Garcia had his first four-hit game, including two doubles and two RBIs. Gordon Beckham added three hits and Jeff Francoeur had three RBIs.
Markakis hit his third homer in two nights to boost his season total to five. Freeman had his team-leading 15th and Flowers added a two run shot and an RBI double to help the Braves win their second straight after a four-game skid.
The Braves' 15 hits equaled a season high for a nine-inning game and included nine for extra-bases.
Sale, a candidate to be the AL's starter in next week's All-Star Game, admitted he wasn't himself.
''Pretty embarrassing,'' Sale said. ''It's about as bad as I possibly think I've been in a while.''
Manager Robin Ventura noticed a difference, too.
''I think velocity-wise, tonight he looked mortal,'' Ventura said. ''I don't think it was as sharp and they got some good swings at him.''
Chicago's Todd Frazier hit his 24th homer and Adam Eaton added solo shot off Atlanta starter Matt Wisler (4-8), who gave up six runs and eight hits in five innings but got his first win since June 16.
The Braves scored four runs in the fifth on three straight doubles to the wall to break a 4-all tie.
The White Sox became the first team in the majors to turn three triple plays in a season since the 1979 - when Oakland and Boston did it.
With Chase d'Arnaud on second base and Beckham on first in the third inning, Freeman hit a soft liner that rookie shortstop Tim Anderson trapped. Anderson tagged d'Arnaud as he tried to retreat to second for the first out. Anderson stepped on second to force out Beckham, then threw to first baseman Jose Abreu to get Freeman.
Anderson said he was part of a triple play for the first time.
''I was kind of like basketball player in that role,'' he said. ''It was just my instincts. It happens so fast.''
Chicago also turned triple plays on April 22 against Texas and May 18 against Houston.
Frazier, the defending All-Star Home Run Derby champion, is pumped to take his cuts at Monday's competition in San Diego. ''We have a little plan,'' Frazier said, ''and you look at who I'm stacked against and there are some big guns.''
Frazier, second in the American League with 24 homers, will take on Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez in the first round and hit second in the matchup, which Frazier prefers. ''You know how many home runs you need to hit,'' he said. ''You know whether you need to speed it up and start cranking at some point, and when to use your timeout.''
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran, Atlanta's lone All-Star, was cleared to make his regular Saturday against the White Sox after being treated for an infection due to an ingrown hair on his right thigh. ''If everything goes well tomorrow and he feels good Sunday, he'll be available to pitch in the All-Star Game, I'm assuming,'' interim manager Brian Snitker said.
White Sox: Manager Robin Ventura shifted 2B Brett Lawrie to DH following Thursday's day off to give the high-energy infielder a two-day break. ''He throws his body around pretty good,'' Ventura said. ''I think it can help him.'' Carlos Sanchez took Lawrie's place at second base. . Ventura said there's no timetable on the return of RHP Zach Putnam (right elbow) or 35-year-old INF Justin Morneau, the 2006 AL MVP who is on a rehab stint with Triple-A Charlotte.
Teheran (3-7, 2.72) faces Chicago LHP Jose Quintana (6-8, 3.06) in the second game of the series on Saturday. Quintana ended a nine-start winless streak (0-7) last Sunday at Houston. Teheran has never faced the White Sox and Quintana beat the Braves in his only career start against them.