Jose Quintana didn't receive the kind of overwhelming support John Danks saw on Friday, but a big swing and a web gem by Alexei Ramirez was enough to swing the game the White Sox' way and allow Quintana to pick up his first win against the Royals in 17 starts.
Ramirez made the two biggest plays of the game, delivering a three-run homer in fourth-inning, then hitting the ground to snag a Mike Moustakas grounder to start an inning-ending double play in the eighth to snuff out Kansas City's biggest threat of the night.
Ramirez put the Sox on the board in the fourth inning. Jose Abreu led off with a walk, and Avisail Garcia followed with an infield single. Two batters later, Danny Duffy had Ramirez down 1-2, but threw a rolling curve that Ramirez didn't miss. He hit his ninth homer of the year out to left center and gave the Sox a 3-0 lead.
A Geovany Soto solo shot in the seventh gave the Sox an additional run, and it looked like they needed it when the bullpen took over in the eighth. The Royals ran into a ridiculous streak of good luck, with three of their first four batters reaching on infield singles to narrow the lead to 4-1 and bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Moustakas, who came in when Robin Ventura wanted Nate Jones to face Cheslor Cuthbert.
With a 1-0 count, Moustakas finally gave the Royals some palpable contact with a shot through the box. It was to the third base side of second, but because of a shift, Ramirez had to dive to his right. He came up with the ball, popped up to his feet to get the force at second, then fired to first for the huge double play that allowed Sox fans to breathe easy. They could relax even more when the Sox tacked on two in the ninth to push the game out of save-situation territory for David Robertson, who pitched anyway since he was warm.
It would have been criminal if the Sox bullpen somehow blew that lead, because Quintana threw seven shutout innings to put his first career victory against Kansas City within reach. He entered the night 0-6 with a 4.68 ERA over 16 starts.
Quintana's night wasn't as uneventful as his line -- seven hits, five strikeouts -- would suggest. He pitched out of trouble in the second by giving up a leadoff double to the right guy, as Kendrys Morales could only make third on Alex Gordon's single, then was caught in a pickle between third and home on Cuthbert's grounder to first base. A rundown eliminated him, and Quintana got a flyout and a strikeout to escape the jam.
Quintana also stranded a runner on third in the third, a runner on second in the fourth, a runner on second in the sixth, and finished his night by striking out Jonny Gomes and getting Alcides Escobar to ground out to leave a runner on third in the seventh, closing the book on a groundbreaking effort.