How it happened: With one swing of the bat, the Braves' Brian McCann put his team up for good with a three-run home run in the sixth inning. White Sox starter John Danks gave up all five of his runs on home runs as Andrelton Simmons had a two-run home run in the third inning. The White Sox scored two runs of their own in the third on an Alex Rios double. Danks went seven innings, giving up seven hits to go along with his five runs, and didn’t allow a walk with four strikeouts. The White Sox inched closer in the eighth inning on RBI hits from Alexei Ramirez and Jeff Keppinger.
What it means: In a lost season the White Sox opened the second half by sinking further into the abyss. The defeat to the Braves gave the White Sox a 37-56 record, dropping the team a season-high 19 games under .500. It is the first time the White Sox have been 19-under since Sept. 27, 2007 when they were 70-89 and on their way to a 72-90 final record.
Outside the box: Rios might have driven in two runs, but he also appeared to cost the White Sox a run in the fifth inning when he left the batter’s box slowly. With runners on first and third with one out, Rios hit a hard ground ball to Simmons at shortstop. Rios broke late and seemed to speed up when Simmons mishandled the ball. The Braves still turned the inning-ending double play with ease. Rios was pulled from the game in the top of the seventh and trade rumors surrounding Rios started almost immediately.
Off beat: The White Sox’s Georgia connection did all it could to make life miserable for a team from Atlanta. Gordon Beckham had a takeout slide in the third inning that prevented a double play. Rios was then able to deliver his two-run hit with two outs. Former Bulldog Keppinger added two hits of his own, including an RBI single in the eighth inning.
Up next: The White Sox will send right-hander Jake Peavy (6-4, 4.30 ERA) to the mound Saturday in the middle game of the three-game series. The Braves will counter with left-hander Paul Maholm (9-8, 3.98) in the 3:05 p.m. start from U.S. Cellular Field.