CHICAGO -- Chris Sale will be making his fifth straight All-Star appearance, and there's a chance the White Sox ace could be named the American League starter. But the southpaw didn't exactly strengthen his resume during an 11-8 loss to the Braves Friday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
"[Sale] wasn't as sharp as he usually is," Braves catcher and Sale's former personal catcher Tyler Flowers said. "These are the kinds of days you hope to face guys of that caliber and just try to be ready for the mistake and take advantage of it."
Against one of the worst teams in the game, Sale tied his career-high by allowing eight earned runs on 10 hits over five innings. He struck out five and walked two, yielding three home runs and a career-high seven extra-base hits in a single start. He dropped to 14-3 with his ERA rising to 3.38. Since Sale suffered his first loss on May 24, after nine wins in nine starts, he has allowed 65 hits and 35 earned runs over 56 2/3 innings, with 61 strikeouts and 12 home runs.
"Velocity wise, tonight he looked mortal," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Sale. "They got some good swings at him. There was some hard contact, a couple homers; it just looked like it wasn't his best stuff. There was some velocity there you'd see every once in a while, but mostly if you're missing in the middle, they're going to hit it."
Atlanta had 15 hits, including a career-high four from Adonis Garcia. Flowers, who caught every start Sale made for the White Sox in 2014 and 2015, homered and drove in three, while Gordon Beckham, another former Sale teammate in Chicago, had three hits. Every Braves' starter but Erick Aybar had at least one hit.
"Pretty embarrassing. It's about as bad as I possibly think I've been in awhile," Sale said. "Stuff like this happens. You take the good with the bad, and this certainly was the bad."
"It was kind of a weird game to start off with, but ultimately, the good guys came out on top," the Braves' Freddie Freeman said. "We haven't scored that many runs in a while, and then to get that many hits. It was good to come back in that game. It was definitely a weird game, but it was nice to win."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Turning three: For the third time this year, fourth if you count Cactus League play, the White Sox turned a triple play. The first two came at U.S. Cellular Field, as well, on April 22 against the Rangers and on May 18 against the Astros. This one took place in the third, after a Sale walk to Chase d'Arnaud and a Beckham single. Freeman hit a liner to short that Tim Anderson trapped, and with d'Arnaud going back to the base, he was able to tag him, step on second and throw to first to get Freeman. More >
"Everything has to go right with a triple play and that did," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "Chase was hung out there. He couldn't do anything. The stars were aligned for that one. Freeman hit it right on the screws."
Braves bats come alive: After making multiple defensive mistakes during a three-run second inning that gave the White Sox a 4-3 lead, the Braves tied the game when Nick Markakis began the fourth inning with his third home run within a span of seven at-bats. Atlanta took the lead for good during a four-run fifth inning that included three consecutive two-out doubles recorded by Jeff Francoeur, Flowers and Garcia. More >
Falling a little short: The White Sox had runners on second and third, two out and Eaton at the plate in the sixth inning against Joel De La Cruz, with the right fielder having worked the count full. Jose Abreu and Frazier followed in the lineup, waiting for an attempt to cut into an 11-6 deficit, but Eaton struck out swinging to end the frame.
Ugly, but not costly: Most of the damage Wisler incurred came during the three-run third inning that included Ender Inciarte making a wayward throw to second base and Markakis allowing J.B. Shuck's RBI double to fall in front of him in shallow right field. Wisler added to the defensive woes when he opted to field Eaton's squeeze bunt as it appeared to be going foul, allowing the run to score and Eaton to reach base.
"We never stopped playing," Snitker said. "We never quit. How do you explain it? It's baseball and those things happen."
"We score eight runs, and you got to have that game. You score eight runs, and you've got to win." -- Sale, on his difficult start
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Courtesy of the home runs hit by Freeman and Markakis, Sale allowed two home runs in the first five at-bats against left-handed hitters on Friday. He had allowed two home runs in 58 at-bats against lefty hitters during his previous 14 starts.
REVERSAL OF FORTUNE
Sale's eight runs represented a season-high allowed and his highest total since April 30, 2015, when he gave up nine (eight earned). The setback also snapped a five-start winning streak for Sale, who also won in each of his first nine starts.
WHAT'S NEXT Braves:Julio Teheran will take the mound when Atlanta and Chicago resume this three-game series on Saturday at 2:10 p.m. ET. Teheran will making his first start since undergoing treatment earlier this week for an infected right thigh. The All-Star hurler has allowed two earned runs or less in 10 of his past 14 starts.
White Sox:Jose Quintana (6-8, 3.06) makes his 18th start and final before the All-Star break on Saturday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field at 1:10 p.m. CT. Quintana went 5-1 with a 1.38 ERA over his first seven starts and 1-7 with a 4.23 ERA over his last 10.