The Royals have been what Jose Quintana needed, and Danny Duffy needs to get away from the White Sox.
Usually those roles are reversed, but Quintana improved upon his excellent showing against Kansas City his last time out, while the Sox thumped Duffy for the second time in as many 2017 matchups.
Quintana followed up his 10-strikeout afternoon on Wednesday by throwing eight scoreless innings. He gave up four singles, and didn’t walk a batter until the final frame, when his control started loosening. He issued two free passes that inning, but escaped by getting a weak grounder to second, which was the Royals’ only at-bat with a runner in scoring position all game.
How did Quintana avoid trouble? Only one leadoff batter reached, and Quintana erased him with a 5-4-3 double play.
Duffy, on the other hand, struggled from the start. He worked around a pair of game-opening singles with a double play in the first, but the Sox resumed hitting when the second inning rolled around. Three straight singles eventually turned into a 2-0 lead (Willy Garcia drove in the second, recording his first career RBI by beating out a potential 4-6-3 double play ball).
The Sox then loaded the bases with one out in the third, converting it into a crooked number after an Avisail Garcia single and a Geovany Soto sac fly.
Granted, Kansas City failed to cut down a couple baserunners when it had the chance. The Sox scored their first two runs in part because Todd Frazier went from first to third on a single. Jorge Bonifacio’s throw beat him to third by plenty, but Cheslor Cuthbert dropped the ball.
The Sox scored their final two runs with similar help. In that case, Leury Garcia hit a grounder to second baseman Cristian Colon with runners on the corners. Catcher Drew Butera initially took steps toward first as if to back up the throw, perhaps forgetting about the runner on third. When Colon went to throw home, Butera wasn’t quite there, and the lack of a target made for an awkward throw and an even clumsier catch attempt. The runner scored, and Yolmer Sanchez tacked on another with a single.
Sanchez led the way from the second spot, going 3-for-4 with a double, which was the Sox’ lone extra-base hit out of 11.
*Avisail Garcia was perfect at the plate, going 2-for-2 with a walk and an HBP.
*The other Garcias went 0-for-4 apiece, finishing as the only hitless Sox. They did drive in runs with productive grounders to second, however.
*Quintana lowered his ERA to 4.10, which is closer to comfort.
*Melky Cabrera was the one baserunner the Royals cut down, as his attempt to turn a single into a double ended with a goofy game of cat and mouse at second base. The cat won.