Jeremy Guthrie entered the game 3-12 with a 6.56 ERA this season -- or 0-3 and 7.71 since the Royals acquired him -- so of course he would blank the Sox and come within an inning of his first career shutout.
Another depleted Sox lineup, this time lacking Alex Rios (sore back) and Paul Konerko (mild concussion, it was announced after the game), really didn't do anything against a guy who could contend for the title of baseball's worst starter. Only one runner reached scoring position over the first eight innings, and it was with two outs on a Gordon Beckham double.
Guthrie wasn't bad, but he didn't pitch as well as his line indicated by location alone. A pitcher can hang curves to Dayan Viciedo and Orlando Hudson, because they're not going to do anything with them. Adam Dunn, until the ninth inning, looked like he was calibrated for a 92 mph fastball when Guthrie threw 95.
Through the first eight innings, Alejandro De Aza looked like the only guy with a bounce in his step. He singled in each of his first two plate appearances, and made a great running throw that beat Jeff Francoeur to the bag when Francoeur didn't pick up the ball on a hit and run. De Aza got a putout and an assist on one of those routine 8-3 double plays.
Ned Yost made the surprising call to pull Guthrie after eight threatless innings and 104 pitches, and that might have saved the Sox from a shutout. Dunn doubled on a 99-mph Greg Holland heater with one out, and came around to score on A.J. Pierzynski's seeing-eye single up the middle. But Alexei Ramirez looped a soft liner to short to end the game.
So Jose Quintana was once again the hard-luck starter. He pitched a great game, save solo homers by Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez. Even including the gopher balls, Robin Ventura would take his line every time: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. Even the way he left the game illustrated his misfortune, because Pierzynski let a routine slider in the dirt go between his legs for a dropping third strike.
The runner didn't come around to score because Jesse Crain looked dominant in his inning of relief. Brett Myers finished the game (hmm) with a quick inning himself. In his last four innings, he's thrown 21, 17, 10 and nine pitches.