CHICAGO -- Mike Foltynewicz became the local-kid-done-good story Sunday afternoon, as he shut out the White Sox over seven innings during the Braves' 2-0 victory at U.S. Cellular Field. The victory for Atlanta ended the White Sox stretch of series victories at five straight.
Foltynewicz, who hails from Minooka, Ill., a southwest suburb of Chicago, struck out a career-high 10 and yielded five hits among his 106 pitches. Atlanta catcher and former White Sox backstop Tyler Flowers spoke Friday about the excellence of Foltynewicz's raw stuff, and he proved that point true when he concluded his outing with three strikeouts during a 1-2-3 seventh inning.
"This is a really aggressive-hitting team and with it being a day game, I thought they might be swinging even more," Foltynewicz said. "I just let the defense do the work. When I got ahead, I finally put them away today."
"He was fantastic. He has great stuff," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Foltynewicz. "The velocity, the control that he had and a good breaking pitch. It was tough. Our guys just couldn't get on it and any time we got something going, he snuffed it out." More >
James Shields took the loss, but certainly pitched well enough to win. The right-hander gave up two runs on six hits over 7 2/3 innings, striking out two and walking two. The lone runs coming against Shields among his 93 pitches were solo home runs by Jeff Francoeur in the second and Jace Peterson in the third.
Jim Johnson worked a scoreless ninth inning to get the save for the Braves, who won three of four in Chicago, including Thursday's makeup game against the Cubs. Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said he stayed away from Arodys Vizcaino in the ninth because of an irritation on his right elbow. Johnson got a double-play to end the game.
"We felt good and we put good swings on the ball," Francoeur said. "I definitely didn't think just a couple solo shots would be enough, but it was. Good for us."
"I was being aggressive in the zone, attacking the hitters with the fastball early, trying to keep ahead in the count," Shields said. "I got behind in the count with a few hitters there, but really I only made two bad pitches today, and unfortunately we lost the game."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Much-welcomed power: The Braves rank last in the Majors in home runs, but they took advantage of their surroundings as they belted eight home runs this weekend, marking the first time since their 2009 season-opening series in Philadelphia that they recorded this many home runs in a three-game set. Francoeur tallied his second homer of this series with one out in the second and Peterson added to Shields' frustration when he tallied his third homer since June 28 with a two-out solo shot in the third.
"We swung the bats well," Snitker said. "Chicago was good to us this trip. It was one of those series when every time the ball went up in the air, it was either going to pierce a gap or go over the wall. Our guys swung the bat well. We played a really good series."
Consistent rookie: It took Tim Anderson two at-bats Sunday to produce his 14th multihit game among 28 played for the White Sox. Anderson singled in the first but was caught stealing and singled again in the third. Anderson also turned an unassisted double play in the eighth to help keep the deficit at two.
"You are looking at a kid that has improved so much over the course of time we have had him," said Ventura of Anderson. "Now he has the talent to stick here. He has the talent to do some special things. You are starting to see some of it and just range and also just his character. That's another thing that is very good for our team that we've been able to add him."
Keeping it close: Atlanta had chances to extend their lead in the fifth and the sixth, but Shields shut them down both times. A.J. Pierzynski doubled and moved to third on Brett Lawrie's error with one out in the fifth, only to have Erick Aybar hit into a double play. Shields walked two in the sixth, with the runners advancing to second and third with one out on a wild pitch. But Shields retired Nick Markakis on a grounder to first baseman Jose Abreu and struck out Francoeur.
"I just go start-by-start, honestly. I don't put too much emphasis on any start," Shields said. "Even when I was struggling, I wasn't putting too much emphasis on any start. Being consistent and being on the same page as Navi (Dioner Navarro) back there, it has been great."
A.J.'s latest milestone: Pierzynski's fifth inning double was the 400th of his career, allowing him to join Pudge Rodriguez, Ted Simmons and Carlton Fisk as the only catchers to ever reach this milestone. This might have been the final game the 39-year-old catcher played at U.S. Cellular Field. He recorded 198 doubles while playing for the White Sox from 2005-12.
"Getting away from the field on a high note is huge. We're going to take it, enjoy this flight home and come back strong after the (All-Star) break. -- Peterson
"We had a good stretch there, and we feel really good going into the break." -- Shields
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Before Pierzynski caught Anderson attempting to swipe second base in the first inning, opponents had been successful with 32 consecutive stolen base attempts against Braves' catchers dating back to May 26. Opponents have been successful with 66 of 73 stolen base attempts against Atlanta's catchers. .
The White Sox ended the first half at 45-43, marking the first time they were over .500 at this point since 2012 (47-38).
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Abreu originally was ruled out on a hard-hit grounder bobbled by third baseman Adonis Garcia, but replays showed that first baseman Freddie Freeman was off the bag in grabbing the throw. Ventura challenged the call, after bench coach Rick Renteria raced to the dugout phone to check on the play, and the call was overturned with Abreu getting credit for an infield single.
The Braves won a challenge after Ender Inciarte was called out at first base with two outs in the seventh inning. The initial call was reversed after a review showed Inciarte beat Abreu's flip to Shields at the bag.
WHAT'S NEXT Braves: Atlanta will begin the second half of the season on Friday night, when it welcomes Colorado to Turner Field for the start of a three-game series. The Braves will not announce Friday's starting pitcher until they see whether Julio Teheran pitches in Tuesday night's All-Star Game.
White Sox: The White Sox start the second half in Anaheim, with a 9:05 p.m. CT first pitch on Friday. Jose Quintana was scheduled to start, but with his late addition to the American League All-Star team, the team will turn to Miguel Gonzalez to get the call.