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White Sox 3, Red Sox 1: Tough when they have to be

More two-out offense -- and from a surprising source -- backs a stellar Jose Quintana

Better than a walk.
Better than a walk.
Brian Kersey

The rule of thumb for Jose Quintana is confusing, but simple: He's allowed to throw shutout baseball as long as he doesn't complete seven innings -- otherwise, he stands no shot at getting the win (0-for-4 lifetime).

He looked like he was going to challenge that curse when he took a no-hitter into the seventh. But David Ortiz broke it up with a one-out single, and two singles after that loaded the bases. With Quintana over 100 pitches and hitting the wall, Robin Ventura called for Jesse Crain.

Crain struck out Will Middlebrooks with a 3-2 slider out of the zone for out No. 2. He only got to 2-2 with Stephen Drew before sitting him down with a changeup. That ended the threat, and sure enough, Quintana would emerge with the "W."

It wouldn't be neat, of course. Matt Thornton started the eighth -- it should've been Crain, but I'm guessing Robin Ventura wanted to limit Crain's workload -- the way he started the seventh on Tuesday by allowing the first two batters to reach. This time it was a walk and a single, though, and those were the only two hitters he saw. Matt Lindstrom came in and stranded one of them, somehow.

Lindstrom retired Mike Carp via a flyout, but in his battle with Dustin Pedroia, Tyler Flowers let a slider in the dirt get past him for a passed-ball-looking wild pitch, which took the double play out of order. That looked doubly unfortunate when Pedroia eventually hit a hard grounder right at Alexei Ramirez for what would've been a tailor-made 6-4-3 ball.

As it turned out, it wasn't even a 6-3, because the ball ate up Ramirez and bounced into left field. The error allowed a run to score and putting runners on the corners for David Ortiz. Incredibly, the White Sox defense got another shot at turning two, and Paul Konerko started his second 3-6-3 in as many days to keep it a two-run ballgame.

Credit Ramirez for getting the run back. He kept the bottom of the eighth alive with a two-out single, and sprinted the other 270 feet on Alex Rios' double to the left-center gap. That restored the two-run lead, and while the rain came pouring down afterward to cause concern of a stoppage, the White Sox closed it up in a businesslike fashion. Addison Reed put together a 1-2-3 save to give his Sox the series, which is important since Chris Sale will miss Wednesday's start.

For the second straight game, the White Sox scored all their runs with two outs. Their first (and only other) attack came in the fifth in what had been a very quiet game. Dayan Viciedo reached on a chopper single under the glove of the diving Middlebrooks, which was only the second hit of the game against Felix Doubront. Keppinger made it a third, and it was a shocker -- a two-run shot to left, five rows deep, to give the Sox a 2-0 lead.

Tyler Flowers followed with a double, and those were the only four hits of the ballgame until the seventh. Quintana's established a swing-and-miss fastball early, and then got swings and misses on his slower stuff afterward. He issued a couple walks, but both came with two outs, and both were stranded. The only flaw in his start was that he could've been more efficient. That tenacious Boston lineup worked him over, even when they didn't get hits to show for it, and he ended up with 107 pitches by the time he departed after 6⅓ innings. Thanks to a good-enough bullpen -- especially in the face of more questionable defense -- 6⅓ innings was enough.

Bullet points:

  • Rios had alread extended his hitting streak to 16 games before coming to the plate in the eighth, so that RBI double was icing on the cake.
  • Casper Wells, a defensive replacement for Viciedo, slipped on the drenched warning track while tracking Daniel Nava's deep fly, but still made the catch while sitting down.

Record: 21-23 | Box score | Play-by-play | Highlights