The White Sox offense was in a hustle to get this one over with. The White Sox defense played like they had nowhere else to be.
After a pretty pleasant 10 days, the pitching staff was back to being caught in the middle.
The defense made four separate miscues, three of which ultimately resulted in runs.
First inning: Jose Quintana strikes out Anthony Rizzo on a hit-and-run, with Starlin Castro getting a late start. But when Tyler Flowers pops up to throw, he has to double-clutch, because Alexei Ramirez didn't notice Castro, and so he didn't cover the bag. Instead of being cut down at second for the third out, Castro came around to score on Alfonso Soriano's single.
Fourth inning: Soriano's flare to right is the wrong height, because Alex Rios' sliding attempt isn't enough to track it past the lights. It hits his glove but doesn't stick, resulting in a Soriano single, but he doesn't score.
Seventh inning: Nate Jones starts the inning by getting Ryan Sweeney to commit too far on a slider down and in. The ball skips past Flowers' backhanded attempt and gets to the backstop, but Sweeney doesn't start running right away because he doesn't believe he went. Flowers has time to find the ball and make a good throw to first, but he rushes it, and Paul Konerko can't handle the difficult hop.
Seventh inning: Dayan Viciedo guns down Sweeney at home to prevent that run from scoring, giving Jones two outs. Rizzo hits a loud fly ball to center, but Alejandro De Aza gets back to the wall just left of center. But he doesn't know that he got back there in time, and he's not in a good position to make the catch. He whiffs on his awkward leaping attempt, and it caroms off the wall for a two-run triple, putting the game well out of reach.
Then again, maybe it's good to get it out of their system on a night like tonight, because the Sox put up no fight against Jeff Samardzija, who dominated all evening en route to his first career shutout.
Conor Gillaspie led off the third inning with a nice line-drive single ... and was promptly erased on a tailor-made Jeff Keppinger double-play ball. Konerko drew a one-out walk in the fifth inning, and they were the only two runners to reach base through the first eight innings.
The Sox did threaten in the ninth, with Tyler Flowers drawing a one-out walk and Alexei Ramirez singling him to third two batters later. But Alex Rios got jammed on a 2-0 slider for a weak popout to second, and the blowout shutout was sealed. At least they made Samardzija throw more than 100 pitches -- the relatively stressful finish put him at 108 on the night.
Quintana didn't pitch poorly, but not nearly well enough to keep pace with Samardzija. He gave up four runs over six innings, with the big blow taking the form of a two-run homer by the previously punchless Julio Borbon. It wasn't only a surprise because Borbon entered the game with zero RBI, but because Quintana made him look foolish for strikeouts in his first two at-bats. But with two outs in the fifth inning, Borbon jumped on a first-pitch fastball at the top of the zone and hit a no-doubter to the back of the patio in right to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead, and that was par for the course tonight.