After four shaky starts, Jose Quintana needed today to help salvage what has been a poor performance this month to his standards. The Chicago White Sox coming into today had a team ERA of 3.02, best in Major League Baseball. Quintana is a big reason why it's not sub-3, as after his first four starts he had a 6.17 ERA and 5.69 FIP.
This afternoon, Quintana found his missing fastball command and had his best start of 2017 in the White Sox 5-2 win over Kansas City.
Quintana was at his best in the first four innings. The Royals could only manage two hits; Whit Merrifield's bloop single in the second inning and Eric Hosmer's fourth-inning triple. Despite having Hosmer 90-feet away from scoring with one out, Quintana induced a fly ball from Salvador Perez that wasn't deep enough for Hosmer to score, and struck out Merrifield looking. After four innings, Quintana had eight strikeouts to just one walk.
The offense even did their part. Despite Quintana's struggles, the offense had only scored four runs in his four starts. Even if he was on top of his game, that's not going to earn Quintana notches in the win column. After scoring 10-plus runs the previous two games, Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier hit back-to-back RBI doubles to give Quintana a 2-0 cushion.
That score remained until the fifth inning when Kansas City finally broke through mainly thanks to some bad luck for the Sox. After a lead-off single from Alcides Escobar, a slow chopper from Cheslor Cuthbert was misplayed by Jose Abreu. That error was Abreu's fourth of the season, but what made matters worse was he getting injured on the play. Abreu left with a mild right hip flexor strain and is considered to be day-to-day.
That error would later result in a run when rookie Jorge Bonifacio singled in Escobar for the Royals first run of the game, cutting the deficit in half.
Kansas City would tie it in the sixth inning thanks to two wild pitches. Alex Gordon single to right field got the rally started. During Merrifield's at bat, catcher Geovany Soto couldn't smother a curveball in the dirt and it bounced off his chest protector up the first base line. Gordon easily advanced to second and later in the at bat, Merrifield walked. With runners on first and second, Soto again couldn't handle the curveball in the dirt allowing both runners to advance in scoring position. Escobar hit a sharp ground ball up the middle, and Tim Anderson made a nifty spinning throw for the out, but Gordon scored to tie it 2-2. Quintana ended the inning by striking out Cuthbert looking, his 10th in the game.
It had the feeling of another no decision result for Quintana. Despite the first inning surge, the Sox offense became quiet against Royals starter, Nathan Karns. His curveball started giving the right handed hitters fits, and with Melky Cabrera on first with two outs, up came Avisail Garcia.
Karns started the at bat with a curve for a swinging strike. Instead of continuing to use what was effective, Karns tried to sneak a fastball by Avi.
With an exit velocity of 110.7 mph, Avi destroyed Karns 92-mph fastball to a tune of 451-feet straightaway center. His fourth home run and team-leading 16th, 17th RBI gave the Sox a two run lead, 4-2.
The Royals threaten in the next half inning. With runners on first and second, Tommy Kahnle entered the game to replace Dan Jennings. With a 2-2 count against Salvador Perez, Kahnle reached back and threw a 100 mph dart to get Perez whiffing, ending the threat.
In the eighth inning, Leury Garcia added more insurance with his second home run of 2017 off reliever Peter Moylan. Up 5-2, closer David Robertson wrapped the game up for his fifth save.
Avisaíl García in 28 PA vs relief pitchers this season (entering today):— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) April 26, 2017
.520/.571/.800 (13 for 25), Double, 2 HR #WhiteSox
- It appears that Jose Abreu’s injury will not prevent him from traveling with the team to Detroit as the Sox start a 10-game road trip. His hip flexor will be re-evaluated before the start of this weekend’s series against the Tigers.