Dylan Cease earns first win since May as the Chicago White Sox top the Atlanta Braves 8-1 to take the series

17 July 2023

Dylan Cease is a native of Milton, Ga., which is about 25 miles from Truist Park.

With an estimated 30 to 40 people he knew in the stands, the Chicago White Sox starter faced the Atlanta Braves for the first time in his career Sunday.

“It was really cool,” Cease said. “I never went to Truist growing up, I was always at Turner Field. But it’s still great to pitch at my hometown ballpark.”

Cease received a ton of offensive support on the way to his first victory since May 23, as the Sox topped the Braves 8-1 in front of 40,174.

The win capped one of the better series of the season for the Sox. They took two of three for their first series victory since June 23-25 against Boston and their first one on the road since June 6-8 at Yankee Stadium.

“Our bats were there, we played great defense, our pitching was solid,” Cease said. “It’s one of those series that shows the kind of talent we have.”

Saturday, the Sox snapped Atlanta’s 11-game home winning streak. Sunday, the Sox handed the Braves their first series loss since May 29-31 at Oakland. The Braves, who have the best record in baseball, had won 11 consecutive series.

“It just shows we can play with anybody,” manager Pedro Grifol said. “You never know what’s going to happen in this game. You do know what’s going to happen if you don’t play hard and you don’t prepare. You’re going to get your ass kicked.

“But as far as the schedule is concerned and who you’re playing and where you’re playing, you’ve just got to prepare to play and go play. Leave it all on the field. That’s all you can do. For me, that’s probably the best team in baseball. They don’t have any weaknesses in my opinion. It’s a good series for us.”

The Sox played most of the game without right fielder Eloy Jiménez, who exited after the first inning with left groin tightness.

Jiménez grounded into a double play to end the first inning. Gavin Sheets hit for him in the second.

“He’ll get further evaluation tomorrow,” Grifol said of Jiménez. “Maybe get some tests done. And we’ll see. I wouldn’t expect him in the next few days, for sure. But we’ll see what it says tomorrow. Don’t want to jump the gun on anything, but right now it doesn’t look good for the next four to five days. We’ll see what comes of it tomorrow.”

The Sox scored four runs in the second against Braves starter Kolby Allard. Jake Burger hit a two-run home run while Tim Anderson and Luis Robert Jr. both drove in one run with singles.

Andrew Benintendi had an RBI single as part of a two-run fourth. Benintendi had three hits Sunday and seven in the series.

Robert had a two-run homer in the sixth, his fourth hit of the game, to make it 8-1.

“We were getting hits from everybody,” Burger said. “It’s what we know we are capable of. It’s just doing that on a consistent basis.”

The Sox had 14 hits.

Meanwhile, Cease (4-3) kept getting the big outs. The right-hander, who had received eight consecutive no-decisions entering Sunday, allowed one run on three hits with six strikeouts and three walks in five innings. Only a high pitch count (99) prevented a longer outing.

“Cease was electric,” Grifol said.

Since stumbling in their first game after the All-Star break, the Sox have responded well.

“We knew we had our hands full coming into Atlanta,” Burger said. “Fortunately we got the results we wanted after a tough Day 1.”

Sox sign 17 draft picks, including first-rounder Jacob Gonzalez

The Sox came to terms with 17 of their 20 selections from the 2023 Major League Baseball draft, the team announced Sunday.

That list includes their first-round pick, Mississippi shortstop Jacob Gonzalez. Selected No. 15, Gonzalez’s deal is with a $3.9 million signing bonus.

The Sox also agreed to terms with five undrafted free agents in right-handed pitchers Luke Bell (Xavier), Jake Bockenstedt (Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville), Carson Jacobs (North Dakota State) and Connery Peters (Texas-Arlington), and catcher Dominic Tamez (Alabama).

All 22 signees passed their physicals. The Sox are expected to make additional signings in the coming days.


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