Crochet dazzles, DeJong homers as White Sox beat Braves 3-2

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CHICAGO (AP) — Garrett Crochet pitched seven sparkling innings, pinch-hitter Paul DeJong had a tiebreaking homer and the Chicago White Sox got their first win by beating the Atlanta Braves 3-2 on Tuesday night.

“Huge team win,” Crochet said. “It was gritty, especially there at the end.”

Michael Kopech needed five outs and 39 pitches for his first professional save. He came in with two on in the eighth and pitched out of a bases-loaded jam.

In the ninth, he gave up a solo homer to Marcell Ozuna with one out and ran into more trouble with two outs. He walked Michael Harris II and gave up a single to Orlando Arcia, putting runners on first and second, before retiring Travis d’Arnaud on a pop fly to end the game.

Gavin Sheets and Andrew Vaughn hit RBI singles, and the White Sox overcame two home runs by Ozuna to win after an 0-4 start.

Crochet (1-1) held the Braves to one run and three hits in his second professional start. The hard-throwing left-hander struck out eight and walked one after an impressive performance in Chicago’s opening 1-0 loss to Detroit.

“He started off with high, high velo, and then, he started pitching,” manager Pedro Grifol said. “He settled in and just mixed his pitches, and he was pounding the strike zone.”

Sheets put Chicago ahead 1-0 in the sixth with an RBI single against Reynaldo López. Ozuna tied it in the seventh with a drive to left. But DeJong — batting for Braden Shewmake — put Chicago back on top when he greeted A.J. Minter (0-1) with a drive to left leading off the bottom half for his second homer.

Atlanta loaded the bases with one out in the eighth. John Brebbia walked Jarred Kelenic and Ronald Acuña Jr., and Kopech walked Ozzie Albies before getting Austin Riley to ground into a double play.

Vaughn made it 3-1 when he drove in Luis Robert Jr. with a single in the eighth. And Kopech kept his composure in the ninth, with some mound visits from catcher Martin Maldonado.

“Things could have easily unraveled," Kopech said. “I'm thankful they didn't. I'm thankful that he had the wherewithal to kinda take charge on that.”

López, who pitched for the White Sox from 2017-23, went six innings in his Braves debut. The 30-year-old right-hander gave up one run and four hits.

“Before we even signed the contract, the conversation was always based around being a starter,” said López, who has bounced between the rotation and bullpen. "So, as soon as that was finalized, my mentality has been that the whole time where I was going to be a starter, and I was able to focus on that in spring training, sort of adjust my mentality and I feel like we’re sort of seeing the result of that.”

The Braves agreed to minor league deals with catcher Sandy León and right-hander Jackson Stephens.

TRAINER’S ROOM

White Sox: Grifol said there's a good chance DH Eloy Jiménez (left adductor soreness) avoids the injured list. Jiménez was out of the lineup for the second straight game. ... C Max Stassi (left hip inflammation) began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte on Tuesday.

UP NEXT

The Braves send ace Spencer Strider (0-0, 3.60 ERA) to the mound for the series finale. A 20-game winner last season, Strider lasted five innings in Atlanta's opening win at Philadelphia. The White Sox had not announced their starter. ___

AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB