Jose Quintana picked up his first victory in more than a month, and he had to work for it. He allowed one run over six innings, scattering eight hits and two walks while striking out five. Like Erik Johnson on Monday night, he had to escape a jam in the first inning, and a bases-loaded crunch in the sixth to escape with a decision intact.
But he might have sweat more watching his bullpen try to hold the lead.
Jake Petricka put a 4-1 margin in jeopardy when he started his night with six straight out of the zone. A wild pitch moved the leadoff walk (Darin Mastroianni) into scoring position, and a grounder in the hole on the left side resulted in an infield single despite Alexei Ramirez's best effort to turn it into a fielder's choice. He tried to beat Mastroianni to an uncovered third base, but Mastroianni got his legs out of the way enough to get to the bag before a diving Ramirez could place the tag on his foot.
Mastroianni came home on Trevor Plouffe's rocket off Petricka's glove-hand wrist, narrowing the lead to 4-2. The lead narrowed further when Donnie Veal got a grounder to short. It developed a little too slowly for Gordon Beckham to get the out at first, but his attempt skipped past a creaky Paul Konerko, which allowed another run to score.
Konerko's problems doubled up on him when he couldn't get down for Ryan Doumit's hot shot off Matt Lindstrom, which was ruled an error after it glanced off his glove and into right field. Once again, runners on the corners, but this time, the tying run stood 90 feet away.
Nate Jones and Addison Reed pitched 1-2-3 innings to close it out, although Reed allowed three hard-hit balls. One was caught by Semien, one was hauled in by Alejandro De Aza on the warning track, and the third was snagged on another great dive by Ramirez to end the game.
Despite the shakiness, the pitching and defense made four runs hold up. Both teams had their squandered opportunities (the Twins stranded 10; the Sox 11), but the Sox made just a little bit more of theirs.
Semien gave the Sox a 1-0 lead in the second by hitting the Sox's third single of the inning, scoring Gordon Beckham. After a Plouffe RBI double tied the game in the third, the Sox were able to regain the lead for good in the fifth.
De Aza started the inning with a beautiful bunt single, and he scored from first on an even prettier hit-and-run, coming all the way around on Ramirez's double to left. Ramirez ended up on third thanks to some heads-up baserunning of his own, and Dayan Viciedo cashed him in with a single to left for a 3-1 lead.
The same part of the order scored an essential insurance run in the sixth. With two outs, De Aza singled and Ramirez walked to bring up Viciedo, who rifled a single to left to score De Aza for a 4-1 lead.
Viciedo was hitting third for the first time all season, went 3-for-5 with two RBI. He made Frank Thomas look smart in the process.
- The Sox committed three errors -- Semien preceded the errors by Beckham and Konerko with one in the sixth, but it didn't lead to a run.
- Whatever the opposite of an error is, Jordan Danks made it with a full-extension catch in right (pictured above). Beckham also made a nice ranging play to his right after fumbling one earlier in the game. His defense has been a grab bag of random events as of late.