Chicago White Sox left fielder Casper Wells robs Atlanta Braves’ Reed Johnson of a home run in the eighth inning as the White Sox defeated the Braves 3-1 in a baseball game in Chicago, Sunday, July 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Cherney)
CHICAGO — Reed Johnson just missed a spectacular day at the plate.
Left fielder Casper Wells robbed Johnson of a home run in the eighth inning to help the Chicago White Sox beat the Atlanta Braves 3-1 on Sunday.
Johnson also hit a hard liner direct at shortstop Alexei Ramirez with the bases loaded in the second inning which turned into a double play.
“It’s like we were saying, that’s a perfect example of why they shouldn’t have a one-game playoff right there. A game that happens like that, I mean you really feel like we played pretty well all-around. We made maybe one mistake and it cost us a run, but I thought we played pretty well and put ourselves in a good opportunities and actually took some good at-bats when we did get those opportunities. It just didn’t go our way. Just chalk it up to, Hey, man, I had a couple good at-bats,” and move on to the next day. It’s just kind of the way it goes sometimes,” said Johnson.
With the White Sox leading 3-1, Wells leaped up against the left-field wall to make a catch and rob Johnson of the game-tying homer.
“I’m just glad we had enough real estate to work with. 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,” said Wells.
Braves starter Mike Minor (9-5) pitched his first career complete game in the loss as the Braves dropped two out of three to the White Sox. Minor allowed three runs, two earned on five hits. He struck out eight and walked two.
“It’s a cruel game at times, our game. Mikey probably pitched the best game of the year. And he got nothing, he got an `L.’ That’s all he got. That’s a shame. That’s the way our game is,” said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez.
Alex Rios added two hits and an RBI for Chicago and Jose Quintana (5-2) scattered nine hits in 5 2-3 innings for the win.
The White Sox had their best defensive game of the season.
“I think that’s the one that you realize you can go through slumps defensively but I see our team more like we played today than I do what was happening in the first half,” said White Sox manager Robin Ventura.
White Sox relievers Ramon Troncoso and Donnie Veal each retired the two batters they faced and Nate Jones pitched a scoreless eighth. Closer Addison Reed pitched scoreless ninth for his 25th save in 29 chances.
The Braves had bases loaded and no outs in the second inning, but failed to score. Dan Uggla struck out and Brian McCann was caught off second base on Johnson’s line out. The Braves loaded the bases with two outs in the third inning and could not score again. Second baseman Jeff Keppinger made a diving stop on Brian McCann’s ball and threw him out at first.
“We felt good. I think if we go out and did what we did today, the way Mike pitched, the way we hit. You win the game, but this game of ours is cruel at times,” said Gonzalez. “It just wasn’t a good day for us today.”
In the first inning, Adam Dunn beat the defensive shift with a two-out single through the left side of the infield to score Alejandro De Aza.
De Aza led off the third with a double and Rios bloopped a single with the infield drawn in to score De Aza.
Trailing 2-0 in the fifth, Evan Gattis lined a single an off third baseman Brent Morel’s glove to score Chris Johnson.
The White Sox added an insurance run in the sixth inning on Dayan Viciedo’s sacrifice fly.
NOTES: LHP Paul Maholm was sent back to Atlanta to have his left wrist checked out by the team’s hand specialist. He left Saturday’s start in the fourth with a sprained left wrist that was initially injured in his last start before the break, against Miami. … Braves OF Jason Heyward did not start for a fifth straight game after leaving lineup July 11 with right hamstring strain. Gonzalez plans to start him Monday versus the Mets and play him in CF until B.J. Upton returns from the DL. The Braves want to make sure he’s as close to 100 percent. … Braves C Gerald Laird left the game with a bruised left hand after getting hit by a pitch in the fourth inning. He is day-to-day. … The White Sox optioned Morel to Triple-A Charlotte after the game.