Matt Thornton pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning to keep a scoreless game all locked up. Unfortunately, Thornton Luck showed up an inning later to undermine Jesse Crain.
Nick Swisher kept a first-pitch fastball inside the right-field line to drive in the game-winning run, three batters after Michael Bourn doubled on a jamshot blooper down the left-field line. Crain made good pitchers, and but only came out with a loss to show for it.
Still, Jose Quintana was the bigger victim tonight. Four times in his young career now, Quintana has thrown seven or more scoreless innings. All four times, his teammates couldn't get him the win.
After throwing eight sets of zeroes three times last year, Quintana went seven beautiful innings against Cleveland tonight. The only blemish was a Michael Brantley double with two outs in the second. You could also throw in his two-out plunking of Swisher in the fourth, but some might consider that a goodwill gesture. Either way, he finished his night retiring the last 10 batters.
Unfortunately, Justin Masterson was almost as untouchable, and equally difficult to score against ... for two innings longer. He went the distance, and the Sox only really threatened in the eighth. Conor Gillaspie led off with a double, but Robin Ventura called on Alexei Ramirez to bunt, and he popped out to catcher Yan Gomes. A grounder by Hector Gimenez got Gillaspie to third one out too late, and Alejandro De Aza struck out to end the threat.
Otherwise, the Sox didn't get a runner to second until Paul Konerko's double in the seventh, but Dayan Viciedo struck out to strand him. Other attempts to get into scoring position were foiled when Michael Brantley threw out Alex Rios on an unsuccessful attempt to stretch a single into a double, and an unintentional pitchout foiled a hit-and-run attempt with Ramirez and Gimenez.
*Gillaspie had the lone multi-hit night for either team.
*Rios extended his hitting streak to 10 games in 2013, and 16 games dating back to last year.
*Rios made a nice running catch in the right-field corner, after Viciedo went back to the track for a couple of his own.
*Masterson threw 113 pitches in his shutout, lowering his ERA to 0.41.