ATLANTA (AP) — Jake Burger’s 20th homer was memorable, even though it came later in the season than he hoped.
Burger’s sixth-inning homer off Spencer Strider gave Chicago the lead, Andrew Benintendi drove in three runs with three hits and the White Sox held on in the ninth inning to beat the Braves 6-5 on Saturday night for their first win in Atlanta.
Burger struggled before the All-Star break, hitting only .148 (16 for 108) in a 30-game span that included only six homers. He took a .217 batting average into Saturday night’s game. Strider struck out the side, including Burger, in the second before Burger doubled and hit the big homer in his next two at-bats.
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“That was huge,” said Burger of the go-ahead homer. “I wanted to get to 20 before the break. He’s a great pitcher. We went into the game knowing we were going to have our hands full.”
Strider (11-3) struck out 10 to reach double digits for the seventh time this season but allowed five runs and eight hits in six innings. Strider had won his previous five starts.
“The guy has got really good power stuff,” White Sox manager Pedro Grifol said of Strider. “We beat a pretty damn good pitcher and a really good team.”
Ronald Acuña Jr. had three hits, including two home runs, and drove in three runs for Atlanta. With Chicago leading 6-4, Acuña led off the ninth with his second homer, a drive to right field off Kendall Graveman.
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Ozzie Albies singled and stole second before Graveman struck out Austin Riley. Albies took third on Matt Olson’s single and Sean Murphy hit a game-ending, broken-bat double-play grounder to shortstop Tim Anderson.
Graveman earned his eighth save in 11 chances.
Lance Lynn (6-8) allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings as Chicago earned its first win in eight games in Atlanta. The White Sox lost three games at Turner Field in 2002 and also were swept in three games at Truist Park in 2019, then lost 9-0 Friday.
Following the Braves’ first home loss since June 11 against Washington, they head into Sunday trying to extend a streak of 11 consecutive series wins.
Chicago right-hander Keynan Middleton faced a bases-loaded jam with two outs in the eighth after giving up a double to Olson and walks to Marcell Ozuna and Orlando Arcia. Middleton escaped when Michael Harris II popped out to first baseman Andrew Vaughn.
Eddie Rosario homered and Acuña added a two-run shot for Atlanta in the third inning.
Burger’s homer gave Chicago a 5-4 lead, and Benintendi’s single off Joe Jiménez drove in Oscar Colás, who doubled, in the seventh to extend the lead.
The White Sox took a 4-3 lead in the fifth. Seby Zavala reached on a single and scored when Benintendi’s double skipped past Rosario in left field. Rosario left after the inning due to right hamstring tightness and is not expected to play on Sunday.
Atlanta tied it at 4 in the fifth when Ozzie Albies tripled off the wall in right-center and scored on Austin Riley’s single.
The attendance was 43,344 for the Braves’ 32nd sellout of the season and the third-largest turnout in Truist Park history.
Acuña is hitting .332 with 23 homers and 43 stolen bases as he continues a pace to produce the game’s first 40-70 season. No player with 40 homers has ever had as many as 50 steals. He has matched Oakland’s Esteury Ruiz for the major league lead in steals. His 43 steals are the most by a Braves player since Otis Nixon had 51 in 1991, the season he set the the modern (since 1900) franchise record with 72.
Braves LHP A.J. Minter was placed on the 15-day injured list with left shoulder inflammation. Minter has pitched in a team-leading 44 games and is second on the team with 10 saves. The move after another reliever, RHP Nick Anderson, was placed on the 60-day injured list with a right shoulder strain on Thursday. … LHP Max Fried (strained left forearm) pitched three scoreless innings, allowing two hits with three strikeouts, for Class A Rome on Saturday in his second rehab appearance. Fried has been out since May 6.
LHP Kolby Allard (0-0, 4.22) will look for his first win in his third start of the season for Atlanta as he faces RHP Dylan Cease (3-3, 4.30) on Sunday.