Remember when every Jose Quintana start was toil with rewards too far and few between?
Yeah, me neither.
Quintana extended his career high in victories, picking up his 11th win with plenty of room to spare. He threw 7⅔ strong innings and received enough support that Robin Ventura could let the standing ovation dictate his hook.
After losing a matchup between aces the day before, the White Sox had a big on-paper advantage tonight, and they seized it. Quintana fell behind 1-0 after a double came around to score on a passed ball and a sac fly in the first inning, but the Sox answered with two off Ariel Miranda in the bottom of the first and never trailed again.
It wasn’t just that they scored nine runs, but they did it all sorts of fun ways.
First inning: Tim Anderson tripled with one out and scored on a Melky Cabrera sac fly. Jose Abreu then pounced on a 3-1 fastball and hammered it into the shrubs in center field for a lead the Sox held the rest of the way.
Fourth inning: With two outs, Avisail Garcia doubled to left field. That innocuous hit spelled the start of Miranda’s downfall. He walked Alex Avila, gave up an RBI single to Tyler Saladino, and then walked Adam Eaton to load the bases. Anderson grounded out to end the inning, but Miranda had thrown 90 pitches by that point, and Scott Servais decided to go to the bullpen afterward.
Fifth inning: The Sox liked Servais’ decision, torching Vidal Nuno for four runs, and all after two outs. Todd Frazier kept the inning alive with a single, then scored when Justin Morneau beat the shift with a flyball that dropped in front of the warning track in the right field corner for a triple. That would’ve been the highlight of the inning had Garcia and Avila not gone back-to-back to stretch the White Sox’ lead to 7-1.
At that point, Quintana had the ability to pitch the score. The Mariners did get one more run off him in the sixth, but Melky Cabrera diminished any tension by throwing out Robinson Cano, the trailing runner on a first-to-thirding single, at second base to steal an out. That one run wasn't felt for long, because Saladino came through with a two-run homer in the seventh to seal it.
The only drawback — Jacob Turner wasn’t able to get through the ninth himself. He started the ninth with a seven-run lead, but immediately loaded the bases with a walk and two singles. After trading an out for a run with a sac fly, he reloaded the bases with a walk to Adam Lind. That was one walk too many for Robin Ventura, who pulled Turner for Nate Jones. Jones needed just two pitches to record two outs, getting Seth Smith to bounce into a 6-3 double play to end it.
*Quintana lowered his ERA to 2.77 with an award-bolstering line: 7.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K.
*Huge games from Garcia (3-for-4, a homer and two doubles) and Saladino (3-for-4, homer) means the entire lineup finished the night with an OPS in the .700s.