Chicago’s Alex Rios slides under the tag of Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons during Sunday afternoon’s game.
CHICAGO — Chicago White Sox starter Jose Quintana can thank his own guile and a great leaping catch at the fence by Casper Wells on Sunday afternoon for not winding up with a 14th no-decision this season.
Quintana left the series finale against the Atlanta Braves at U.S. Cellular Field with two outs in the sixth with a leg cramp, but a strong effort by four relievers plus Wells’ great catch in the eighth preserved a 3-1 victory for the White Sox (39-56).
“(I) feel happy about the team winning,” Quintana said, via a translator. “(I) want to have a good outing and everything, but more importantly (I) feel good about the team winning. (I) wasn’t trying to be a hero. (I) wanted to stay (in the game) and finish the job obviously, but at the same time, you don’t want to be a hero. You want to do it for the team. That’s more important to (me).”
Addison Reed retired the side in order in the ninth for his 25th save, which gave the Sox a series win against the Braves (55-43) — who head off to Citi Field to play a four-game series against the Mets. The Braves are chalking this loss up to the breaks of baseball, which did not seem to favor them all afternoon — putting a sour ending on starter Mike Minor’s first career complete game.
“It’s like we were saying, that’s a perfect example of why they shouldn’t have a one-game playoff right there,” said Reed Johnson, who hit the ball that Wells snared at the fence and who also lined into an into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the second.
Johnson continued: “A game that happens like that, I mean you really feel like we played pretty well all-around. It just didn’t go our way. It’s just kind of the way it goes sometimes.
Alex Rios again led Chicago offensively, going 2-for-4, including an RBI single in the third that he blooped to right over a drawn-in infield. It gave the Sox the two-run lead they held when Johnson came to the plate with a runner aboard in the eighth.
Johnson, who went 2-for-4 in his second game back from a minor thumb injury, lifted a shot to left off Nate Jones that might have tied the game had it not been for Wells’ heroics to record the second out. Joey Terdoslavich struck out looking to end that frame, and the Braves didn’t threaten again.
“I’m just glad we had enough real estate to work with,” Wells said. “I was just tracking the ball and just jumped, and you know, luckily the ball was able to find my glove and I was still able to keep it in the ballpark.”
The White Sox gave Quintana a quick 1-0 lead in the first by manufacturing a run on a walk, a wild pitch and an RBI single by Adam Dunn. They got another run in the third off Rios’ blooper for a 2-0 lead.
Even though he wasn’t particularly sharp, Quintana found ways to wiggle out of jams in the second, third, fourth and fifth, allowing just the one run out of all four situations. Despite giving up nine hits, walking two and knocking Braves catcher Gerald Laird out of the game by plunking him on the hand with a pitch in the fourth, Quintana and his defense were just good enough.
Aside from getting the great play by shortstop Alexei Ramirez on Johnson’s line shot with the bases full in the second, he also got Brian McCann to ground out with the bases full to end the third -- getting a stellar play by second baseman Jeff Keppinger in the process. The Braves also put two runners aboard in the fourth before Andrelton Simmons popped out. The Braves did get one in the fifth on three hits, but again stranded a pair on Dan Uggla’s flyout.
NOTES: Paul Konerko returned to the White Sox from his rehab stint at Double-A Birmingham and is expected to be officially reinstated to the active roster prior to Monday’s series opener against the Detroit Tigers. Konerko, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list July 3 with a lower back strain, went 3-for-4 Saturday night in his final game of the assignment and played first base. … Chicago is in the midst of playing 31 games in 31 days to start the post All-Star portion of the schedule. … The Braves sent LHP Paul Maholm back to Atlanta on Sunday to get his sprained left wrist checked out by the team’s hand specialist. … Atlanta called up 31-year-old RHP Kameron Loe before the game and sent down INF/OF Tyler Pastornicky to make room on the roster. … Jason Heyward didn’t start for the fifth straight game with a right hamstring strain, but is expected to start in center field Monday against the Mets.