Frazier preps for Derby, powers Sox past Braves

Frazier preps for Derby, powers Sox past Braves

CHICAGO -- With Jose Quintana and Julio Teheran on the mound Saturday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field, the contest between the Braves and White Sox figured to be a low-scoring affair. Teheran had received the fewest amount of runs per game at 2.5 and Quintana ranked third at 2.9 among qualified pitchers.

But it was Todd Frazier and the White Sox offense that outlasted the Braves in a 5-4 victory to even the series at one game apiece and give the White Sox a chance for their sixth straight series win going into the All-Star break.

Frazier, who will be defending his crown in Monday's T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Petco Park, hit his 25th homer and knocked an RBI double to pace Chicago's attack against All-Star righty Teheran.

"I feel stronger, I feel more relaxed, a little quicker swing," Frazier said. "For me, it's hitting good pitches. I say this all the time, if I'm swinging outside the zone, I'm going to have some trouble. I feel really good at the plate right now."

Frazier's RBI double

After suffering through a seven-game losing streak and a stretch of nine starts without a victory, Quintana won for a second straight time despite yielding four runs and three home runs over six innings, while striking out five.

Teheran allowed two runs in the second and three in the third, but settled down to pitch scoreless baseball over the next three. He struck out two and walked one. The contest marked the first in Major League history started by a pair of Colombian-born pitchers.

"I felt excited for that. Teheran is my friend, and we have a good relationship. I enjoyed this game, and I take the win," Quintana said. "A lot of Colombians were here for this game. That's never happened. That's good for my country. I think we have better baseball now. That's good for us. I'm really proud for that."

"Both of them have great stuff, and I know there's a lot of pride in Colombia about those guys both going out there," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "It was well-pitched."

Nate Jones recorded a four-out save, striking out three, and stranding the bases loaded in the ninth after runners got to second and third with one out. Closer David Robertson was unavailable due to a high strain in his left leg.

Jones notches the save

Gordon Beckham, Freddie Freeman and Jeff Francoeur went deep for the Braves.

"We had some good at-bats today," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "We just kept coming back at them. We gave ourselves a good chance. We had the go-ahead run at second base. We were just a hit away."

Francoeur's two-run home run

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Have yourself a day: Frazier put in a little Derby practice work Saturday with a two-run shot in the second. It marked the second straight day Frazier went deep, giving him 25 for the season. Frazier finished with three RBIs and took a hit away from A.J. Pierzynski -- who entered after Tyler Flowers exited with an injury -- to lead off the fifth.

Frazier's outstanding play

Power barrage: After notching nine extra-base hits (including three homers against Chris Sale) on Friday, the Braves added three more home runs against Quintana. Beckham's first-inning solo shot against his former team was his third homer within a span of 40 at-bats. Freeman's sixth-inning solo shot was the seventh homer he's totaled within his past 26 games. Before totaling six homers through the first two games against Chicago, Atlanta had not totaled more than three homers in a three-game series this season. Their previous series-high total was four, produced in a four-game set in Pittsburgh.

"We've been playing better baseball now for a month or month and a half," Freeman said. "It's nice to go into the All-Star break swinging the bats well. It was another close game today. It's just unfortunate we didn't come up with another run right there."

Freeman's solo homer

Glove save: The Braves had moved to within one run in the sixth against Quintana and had Nick Markakis on first with one out, but Brett Lawrie turned in an inning-ending web gem at second. Lawrie dove toward first on a grounder hit by Francoeur and got up to throw him out and cut short any further damage.

Lawrie's sliding stop

Rough start, encouraging finish: Teheran surrendered Frazier's two-run homer, which was nearly prevented by Ender Inciarte, in the second and then allowed hits to five of the first six batters he faced during a three-run third inning. But the All-Star hurler then retired 10 of the final 11 batters he faced during his six-inning, five-run effort. Teheran was pitching for the first time since being sent back to Atlanta earlier this week to undergo treatment for a right thigh infection.

Teheran fans Garcia

"Whenever you give up five runs in the first three innings, you [want] to finish strong" Teheran said. "That's what I was able to do. I made one mistake with the homer, and the other three runs, I think they hit good pitches."

TWO IS BETTER THAN ONE
Via singles in the first and third, Tim Anderson picked up his 13th multihit effort over 27 big league games played. Anderson has hit safely in 21 of his 27 games overall.

QUOTABLE
"That's a totally different swing. Different bat, too." -- Frazier, on whether home runs in two straight games has him ready for Monday's Home Run Derby and defending his crown.

WHAT'S NEXT
Braves: Atlanta and Chicago will conclude the first half of the season when they meet in the finale of this three-game series on Sunday at 2:10 p.m. ET. Chicago-area native Mike Foltynewicz will start for the Braves. Foltynewicz has made two starts since spending most of June sidelined because of a bone spur in his right elbow.

White Sox: The final first-half start for the White Sox goes to James Shields, who will be making his seventh start for the South Siders and fifth career start against the Braves. Shields has a 2-0 record with a 2.13 ERA over his last two starts, after going 0-2 with a 15.80 ERA over his first four starts with the White Sox. Game is 1:10 p.m. CT on Sunday.

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Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.