The Chicago White Sox discovered the formula that allowed Chris Sale to pick up his 15th win on Saturday after several failed attempts, so they tried to recreate the formula with Jose Quintana for his long-awaited 10th
In classic Quintana fashion, it wasn’t as easy. But, in classic Quintana fashion, he allowed two runs over seven innings. His offense scored enough runs early, and when Quintana came out for the eighth and walked the leadoff hitter, Nate Jones and David Robertson were up to the task of preserving the bid.
As a result, Quintana is a 10-game winner for the first time in his underheralded career.
It was nice to see him get the breaks when his stuff -- especially his fastball command -- wasn’t the sharpest. J.B. Shuck might have kept three runs off the board with his defense in center field. After Quintana struck out Khris Davis with runners on second and third in the first inning, Shuck ran down Ryon Healy’s deep drive to straightaway center to keep the A’s off the board.
Three innings later, after a Davis two-run blast narrowed Quintana’s lead to 3-2, Shuck made an outstanding diving catch on a knuckling Brett Eibner liner to take away a likely one-out triple.
Quintana played with fire throughout the day -- he stranded two with a broken-bat lineout from Marcus Semien, who had doubled in his first two at-bats — and he recorded his only 1-2-3 inning in the sixth. Nevertheless, he limited the A’s to 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and induced a double play, too.
The cumulative effort from the run-prevention unit allowed another early lead to hold up.
The Sox stung Zach Neal for three runs in the first inning despite some inefficiency. After Adam Eaton and Tim Anderson sneaked singles through the infield to start with runners on the corners, Eaton was thrown out at home on an ill-advised contact play on Melky Cabrera’s grounder to first.
Jose Abreu then appeared to have grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, but Chad Pinder bounced the throw to Yonder Alonso and allowed Abreu to reach. That might’ve been mixed news for Abreu, because he didn't run well down the line, and looked even worse hobbling from first to third on a Justin Morneau double that should’ve scored two. Todd Frazier, though, came through with one extra hit needed to score Abreu, and Morneau as well.
Abreu stayed in the game after a brief consult in the tunnel, and he looked no worse for the wear. He started and completed a 3-6-3 double play in the second inning, and then launched a line drive off Neal for a solo shot in the fourth, which was the last run of the game.
The lead held up thanks to Jones, who looked sharper than he did the night before. He entered with the runner on first, and started by hanging tough against Semien to strike him out on 12 pitches. He then fanned Davis on three, and, then pitched around an infield single off his person with a flyout to left.
Likewise, Robertson gave up a single to start his day, but came back to get a flyout, strikeout and lineout for his 32nd save.
*Quintana improved to 10-9 and a 2.84 ERA.
*Cabrera had a rough day with runners in scoring position, making a couple meek outs on first pitches with a runner on third and fewer than two outs.
*Frazier went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, and he stole his 10th base.