Jose Quintana’s night in a GIF:
Yup, it was one of those games. You know, one of those games where he carries a 1-0 lead all the way into the eighth inning, then watches it disappear from the dugout as the reliever fails to strand the runner on the very first pitch.
After that, the details of this game are mostly inconsequential. Nate Jones blew the lead in the eighth, David Robertson blew his second save in as many games after Tim Anderson gave the Sox the lead in the 11th, and Matt Albers ended up losing it by giving up a two-out single to Lorenzo Cain that fell just in front of a diving J.B. Shuck. Cain was 0-for-6 with three strikeouts before that at-bat.
As easy as it is to blame the relief pitching -- and it’s pretty easy since Robertson has converted only four of eight save opportunities in the second half — the first five Sox pitchers held the Royals to two runs over 13 innings. Then again, both offenses failed to cover themselves in glory. The Sox were just 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position (12 stranded), but the Royals were 3-for-16 with 13 stranded.
The lack of opportunities hurt the Sox more. Their scoring opportunities were never quite golden, instead boiling down to two-out hits they couldn’t get in fifth, seventh, eighth or 10th innings.
(The Sox also ran into three outs. Anderson didn’t pick up a flyball on a hit-and-run, resulting in an easy doubling-off. Omar Narvaez was thrown out at the plate on one of the two hits with runners in scoring position, as Paulo Orlando made a great throw that held up after a review that might’ve shown Narvaez brushing the point of the plate. Carlos Sanchez unwisely tried tagging from first to second on Orlando after entering the game as a pinch-runner.)
Anderson was the one to finally break through in the 11th. With Todd Frazier on third with two outs, Chien-Ming Wang walked Shuck on four pitches (hey, he did homer for the Sox’ first run) to bring Anderson to the plate. Anderson was 0-4 with four strikeouts and a walk over his first five plate appearances, but he somehow muscled a 2-2 sinker off his thumbs and over the head of a leaping Eric Hosmer to score Frazier.
Alas, Robertson walked Hosmer to lead off the 11th, and he came around to score two batters later on a Sal Perez double.
The Sox’ second-tier relievers ended up having the better night. Jacob Turner pitched a 1-2-3 10th, and Dan Jennings posted zeroes in the 12th and 13th. He stranded a leadoff Jarrod Dyson triple, striking out Drew Butera, Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar. Going at Escobar registered as a bold decision for Robin Ventura, who earlier issued two intentional walks to Escobar for the first time in the Kansas City shortstop’s career.
*Justin Morneau could have used one of his four hits tonight. He did go 1-for-6, but his hitless at-bats ended up stranding a team-high seven runners.
*Quintana lowered his ERA to 2.85 with an outstanding line (71/3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K)
*While this was a poor offensive game, it was a strong defensive game from both sides. Outside of a Frazier error that Quintana pitched around, the Sox made numerous highlight-worthy plays. The most notable might’ve been a successful pitchout on Dyson in the ninth.
*Don Cooper was ejected one batter into this one.