It was a great day for Colombia. Well, maybe not every Colombian.
The Braves hit three more home runs — that makes eight in three games — but could not overcome a five-run White Sox outburst in the early going, the Braves falling 5-4 on a blustery Saturday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field.
The day marked the first meeting of two Colombian-born pitchers in major league history. Between them, the Braves’ Julio Teheran (43) and Chicago’s Jose Quintana (39) owned 82 of the 95 victories belonging to Colombian pitchers. Except Quintana now has 40 and Teheran, the Braves’ lone invitee to the All-Star game, lost for the first time since June 14 to fall to 3-8.
“I was excited to be able to pitch against him, but I was thinking like it’s a regular game,” Teheran said of Quintana, a close friend with whom he often shares offseason workouts back home. “I wasn’t thinking that it was a match of Colombia or something like that.”
Colombia si; Colombia no.
“I wish I could have won,” he said.
Both starters were gone by the seventh, Quintana allowing four runs on five hits with a walk and five strikeouts, while Teheran was charged with five runs on nine hits with a walk and two strikeouts.
The Braves put runners on second and third with one out in the ninth against reliever Nate Jones. But Erick Aybar struck out, and after Ender Inciarte was intentionally walked to load the bases, Chase d’Arnaud grounded out to end it.
“It seems like we’re never out of it,” said first baseman Freddie Freeman, who homered for the second consecutive game. “We’ve been swinging the bats well, so I think everybody in that dugout knew we had a chance to come back in the late innings. We had our chance. We just didn’t come up with the hit today.
Down four runs after three innings, the Braves recovered with the long ball. Jeff Francoeur sent a 1-0 fast over the left-field wall with Gordon Beckham on base in the fourth to close the lead to 5-3.
Freeman’s turn came in the sixth when he sent a solo shot into the White Sox’ bullpen to make it a one-run game. The homer was Freeman’s 16th, two shy of his season total from his injury-marred 2015 season.
The White Sox jumped on Teheran early. Todd Frazier provided a 2-1 lead with a two-run homer in the second, although Braves center fielder Inciarte had a glove on the ball as it cleared the wall, but then he lost it.
Chicago’s lead grew to 5-1 in the third when Teheran gave up five hits in the interval of six hitters, an RBI single by Jose Abreu and an RBI double by Frazier doing the most damage. But from there, Teheran stonewalled the Sox, retiring the last 10 men he faced in order.
“You give up five runs in the first three innings, you expect to finish strong,” said Teheran, who threw 95 pitches and expects to be available to pitch in Tuesday’s All-Star game. “That’s what I was able to do. “
Beckham, following a three-hit game Friday night, provided the Braves a quick 1-0 advantage by homering to left in the game’s second at-bat. But from the next inning on, the Braves were playing catch-up.
“Just kept coming back at them and gave ourselves a good chance,” interim manager Brian Snitker said. “Had the go-ahead run at the second base. Just a hit away.”