Jose Quintana had a start in spring training where he failed to retire any of the nine batters he faced.
By that standard, his first inning tonight wasn't that bad. He only gave up four singles and a double -- all thwacked -- which had Scott Carroll stirring before Quintana could get the first out. Lorenzo Cain made matters worse with a two-run double, which put the Sox down 5-0 before they could ever get to the plate.
Quintana eventually settled down, but the offense couldn't post the same kind of crooked number off Jeremy Guthrie despite a number of promising starts. They put two runners on base in five different innings, but going 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position led to 11 stranded runners.
A leadoff single by Adam Eaton and a walk by Gordon Beckham only turned into a Jose Abreu sac fly in the first inning, but the second inning was the real killer. They loaded the bases on two singles and a walk to bring Tyler Flowers to the plate. Guthrie struck him out, but turning over the lineup paid dividends when Eaton drew a walk to force in a run, narrowing the gap to 6-2.
The game pretty much fizzled with the next at-bat. Guthrie pumped three fastballs up and over the plate, and Beckham swung through 94 mph, 93 mph and 95 mph for a three-pitch punch-out. That left the hope of a bigger inning on Conor Gillaspie's shoulders, but he hit a routine fly to center for the third out, and the offense stalled thereafter.
Quintana had settled down, but to no great effect. Despite allowing five hits before recording an out, he allowed just three after that, lasting six innings when one was in doubt. He walked one and struck out six, but he just needed a practice frame to get going.
He outpitched Guthrie from the second inning on, but Guthrie squirmed out of six hits and four walks over 5⅔ innings, thanks in large part to nine strikeouts. Flowers scored a silver sombrero, and Adam Dunn, Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza each struck out twice.
The lineup wasted an outstanding effort from Eaton, who went 2-for-2 with three walks out of the leadoff spot. He scored one run and drove in the other, which is a nice way of summing up the offensive output.
At least Quintana spared the bullpen. Carroll didn't have to come in until the seventh, and although he put on his fair share of baserunners (three hits, four walks), he limited the damage to one run and, more importantly, no other relievers.