Braves send All-Star Chris Sale to take on Diamondbacks

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Chicago White SoxJun 27, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Atlanta Braves pitcher Chris Sale (51) delivers against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Sale signed with the Atlanta Braves in the offseason intending to get his career back on track.

The left-hander surely wasn’t expecting to be headed to the All-Star Game as one of the National League’s top pitchers.

One day after earning his eighth All-Star selection — and first since 2018 — Sale will take the mound for the Braves on Monday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix.

Sale (11-3, 2.71 ERA) is tied for the major league lead in victories and ranks sixth in strikeouts (127) and eighth in ERA.

Sale, 35, made the American League All-Star team in seven straight seasons from 2012-18 — starting each of the last three — before injuries derailed his career. The biggest blow was undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2020 that caused him to miss most of the 2021 season.

“It’s definitely satisfying and I appreciate it, for sure,” Sale said Sunday after learning he made the NL team. “You go through some years like I had, you start thinking if this is a real possibility again.

“To be able to be in this position, having a team take a chance on me, it wasn’t an easy trigger to pull — I’m assuming — just because of what it looked like previously.”

Sale made five All-Star appearances for the Chicago White Sox and two for the Boston Red Sox. He struck out a career-high 308 batters for the Red Sox in 2017.

Sale has allowed two or fewer runs in 11 of his past 12 starts. The outlier was a horrendous outing against the Oakland Athletics on June 1 in which he gave up eight runs in four innings during a no-decision.

Sale is 2-0 with a 2.53 ERA in three career games (two starts) against Arizona. He beat the Diamondbacks on April 7 when he allowed two runs and four hits in 5 1/3 innings of a 5-2 home victory.

Randal Grichuk (6-for-20) has two homers against Sale. All-Star second baseman Ketel Marte is just 1-for-12 against him.

The Braves used four homers on Sunday to produce a 6-0 win over the visiting Philadelphia Phillies to take two of three in the series.

“It was a good series,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “One got away from us. It was a pretty good bounceback the last couple of days.”

Arizona took two of three from the host San Diego Padres over the weekend, capping it with a 9-1 rout on Sunday.

Eugenio Suarez matched his career high of five RBIs on a tiebreaking two-run homer and three-run double.

“The home run clearly was the difference-maker,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said of Suarez’s seventh-inning blast. “Geno had a terrific day. Those were some huge blows. And he’s working so hard to make those moments happen.”

Suarez was acquired from the Seattle Mariners in the offseason to provide power but he has struggled most of the season. His blast on Sunday was just his seventh of the season. He hit 22 last year.

Suarez, who turns 33 on July 18, batted .172 in May and .156 in June but is off to a good start this month. His three-hit effort Sunday raised his July average to .421 (8-for-19).

“When you have days like this, you feel great,” said Suarez, who has topped 30 homers four times during his career. “I want to keep humble, keep doing what I’ve been doing and work hard every day.”

Arizona will promote right-hander Yilber Diaz to make his major league debut Monday. Diaz is 1-3 with a 3.27 ERA in four starts at Triple-A Reno after beginning the season at Double-A Amarillo and going 3-5 with a 4.33 ERA.

Diaz, 23, is the Diamondbacks’ No. 16 prospect. He has struck out 105 in 76 minor league innings this season.

–Field Level Media

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