Jose Quintana picked up his first win in nearly two months, and he thoroughly deserved it.
Quintana shrugged off a George Springer leadoff homer by limiting the Astros to just one other hit and two walks over the rest of his seven innings. He finished his afternoon by setting down the last 15, the last of which was a successful defense of Jose Abreu.
Abreu took another hard HBP in the elbow on a miss inside by Chris Devenski in the top of the seventh, and he made his displeasure known with a hard stare. With two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the inning, Quintana threw behind Evan Gattis to trigger the warnings for both benches, after which A.J. Hinch was ejected. Quintana fell behind Gattis 3-0, but came back to strike him out on an eighth-pitch curveball to close the book on his day.
Perhaps he supported his hitters because they supported him. After an uninspiring first trip through the lineup against Collin McHugh, the White Sox settled for center and right field the second time. J.B. Shuck led off the third with a walk, then took third when Tim Anderson doubled over Springer in right. Shuck didn’t score because Springer almost caught it, but Adam Eaton brought him home with a one-hopper to short, which was up the middle enough to get Anderson to third. Abreu followed him with a base hit to center, giving Quintana a lead he didn’t relinquish.
Quintana almost allowed the Astros to answer in the bottom of that inning. Jason Castro led off with a double and Springer walked to put Quintana in a bind, but Marwin Gonzalez offered relief with two unsuccessful bunt attempts and a wild swing for strike three. Two flyouts to Shuck in center later, Quintana had extinguished the last fire he faced.
Eventually, the Sox offense found a way to provide a bigger cushion. They avenged Devenski’s HBP further in the top of the eighth. Alex Avila singled to start it, and Robin Ventura pinch-ran for him with Tyler Saladino, which paid dividends. Saladino stole second with Brett Lawrie at the plate, and then scored when Lawrie singled to center. Lawrie took second on the bad throw home and scored when Dioner Navarro lined an 0-2 pitch for a single, chasing Devenski.
Nate Jones struck out two during a 1-2-3 eighth on just seven pitches. David Robertson had a tougher time with the ninth, allowing a leadoff single and walking Carlos Gomez to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of A.J. Reed, who homered off Robertson yesterday. Four straight curveballs resulted in a strikeout and a fourth straight series victory.
*Not only did Quintana pick up his first victory since May 8, but it was just the second win for the White Sox over Quintana’s last 10 starts.
*Ventura continues to be adventurous with his catchers, not only using Avila as his DH, but then bringing in Saladino to run for him. Saladino is the emergency catcher.
*Every White Sox hitter reached base, and the Sox were 3-for-8 with runners in scoring position. That’s a good recipe for run support.
*Hey, the White Sox took the series in Houston without the services of Melky Cabrera.