After getting two players back in the lineup this weekend, the Atlanta Braves are hoping to get even healthier for their series finale against the Chicago White Sox.
Jason Heyward is expected to make his first start in a little more than a week and will try to help the Braves begin to get on track Sunday.
Atlanta (55-42) had four regulars out of the lineup at the end of its last series, but Justin Upton and Freddie Freeman have returned during this one. Freeman homered and drove in three runs Saturday but couldn't lead the Braves to a victory in his first start since July 13.
The White Sox (38-56) scored nine runs in the third and fourth innings in a 10-6 victory. Alex Rios hit a grand slam and drove in a season-high five runs in breaking out of a 2-for-20 slump.
Rios' performance came after he was pulled from Friday's 6-4 loss for not running hard to first base. The victory was the 10th in 32 games for Chicago while Atlanta fell for the eighth time in 14 contests.
The Braves have alternated losses and wins in the past seven games.
Heyward's expected return from a strained hamstring could help change his team's fortunes. The outfielder, batting .290 in his last 36 games after hitting .142 in his first 31, was injured July 11.
Heyward said he could have played Saturday but decided to give himself an extra day to be certain he was ready.
"(On Friday), I let (manager Fredi Gonzalez) know that if I felt like I could play (Saturday), then Sunday would be the smartest and he agreed," he told the team's official website. "You have to be careful. I've been fortunate enough to avoid the (disabled list) and I don't want to see the DL with this, because it's something that can nag at you for a long time if you don't let it get right."
Mike Minor (9-4, 3.02 ERA) will try to make Heyward's return a winning one while building on a victory in his last start. The left-hander gave up two runs over seven innings and struck out seven in a 5-2 win over Cincinnati on July 13, his first in six outings.
Minor recovered after needing 51 pitches through the first two innings, getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the first.
"I feel like I've been in that situation a lot this year and battled through it," he said. "Hopefully, it doesn't happen anymore the rest of the season."
In his first start against the White Sox, Minor will be opposed by Jose Quintana , who will face the Braves for the first time.
Quintana (4-2, 3.71) earned his first win in nine starts June 9 in Detroit but couldn't follow with another victory last Sunday. He gave up three runs in six innings - two in the first - in a 4-3, 10-inning defeat, needing a Chicago comeback to avoid his first loss in nine outings.
"Once he gets past that first inning, for one reason or another, he gets in a little trouble in the first and then after that he gets stronger," manager Robin Ventura told the team's website.
Gerald Laird , the only current Brave to face Quintana, is 2 for 5 against the left-hander.
Jeff Keppinger is the only White Sox player to get a hit off Minor, going 2 for 6 with a double.
|July 13, 2013||B.J. Upton||15-Day DL||Right adductor strain|
|July 11, 2013||Jason Heyward||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained right hamstring|
|July 04, 2013||Jordan Schafer||15-Day DL||Right ankle contusion|
|July 02, 2013||B.J. Upton||Day-to-Day||Left game - left forearm spasms|
|June 18, 2013||Evan Gattis||15-Day DL||Oblique strain|
|June 18, 2013||Evan Gattis||15-Day DL||Oblique strain|
|Chicago White Sox|
|July 03, 2013||Paul Konerko||15-Day DL||Strained lower back|
|July 02, 2013||Jesse Crain||Day-to-Day||Right shoulder tightness|
|June 30, 2013||Jesse Crain||15-Day DL||Sprained right shoulder|
|June 29, 2013||Brian Omogrosso||15-Day DL||Strained right triceps|
|June 15, 2013||Alejandro De Aza||Day-to-Day||Illness|
|June 05, 2013||Jake Peavy||15-Day DL||Fractured rib - out 4-6 weeks|
CHICAGO (AP) -- Casper Wells did not realize how significant his catch was until he turned to look at the Jumbotron after he helped save a victory for the White Sox.
Wells robbed Reed Johnson of a home run in the eighth inning to help the Chicago White Sox beat the Atlanta Braves 3-1 on Sunday.
With the White Sox leading 3-1, Wells leaped up against the left-field wall to make a spectacular catch and rob Johnson of the game-tying homer.
"I didn't know at first, I was just glad I caught it, you know. And then I saw the replay and I was like, wow that, you know, that was really special. I never did anything like that before. So, like I said I'm just happy I got to help the team out in that situation and the moment that it happened made it that much more special," said Wells.
Initially, Johnson did not think he hit it well enough to get it out of the park.
"No, I hit it OK. I knew that the ball was traveling pretty good all weekend, so when I hit it I was kind of begging for it to get up. I didn't crush it, but obviously in that situation they're probably, I would assume, in the eighth inning he's playing pretty deep almost in `no doubles' anyway, so that made it a little easier play for him. I hit that ball earlier in the game, it's probably a homer because he's probably playing me a lot shallower, you now? So, it was kind of everything," said Johnson.
Wells catch was several great defensive plays by the White Sox.
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.
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.
Braves starter Mike Minor (9-5) pitched his first career complete game in2 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.
"That was my first complete game. That was not the way I wanted it to end, but it was a lot better than I thought it was going to end up, because the first inning was I couldn't really feel anything, I was missing a lot of spots," said Minor.
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 Reed 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.
"McCann is a pull hitter. He looks like he's trying to drive everything to right field so I was more likely to go to my left than I was to my right. If he hits that ball to my right, I probably ain't getting it. So I was anticipating something to be at me or to my left and I don't know. I just kind of went after it and it happened to fall in my glove," said Keppinger.
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 blooped 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. Manager Fredi 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. ... Morel was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte after the game.