BOSTON -- Things officially got weird Wednesday night: Jose Quintana received early run support.
The team’s outstanding offense showed up once again as the White Sox pounded the Boston Red Sox 9-2 in front of 37,104 at Fenway Park. Adam Eaton and Alexei Ramirez both homered as the White Sox scored six early runs for Quintana and cruised to their seventh straight victory. The White Sox have outscored opponents 54-19 during the streak and send Chris Sale to the mound Thursday night in search of their second straight four-game sweep.
“We’re trying to reverse the curse of Quintana,” Eaton said. “It’s nice to be able to get some runs for him early and let him settle in and pitch the way he can pitch. It’s fun to watch when gets in a groove and starts going with the lead.”
Eaton was the ringleader as he began the game by ripping a full-count slider from Rick Porcello over the right-field fence for a solo home run, his ninth. It’s the fourth time this season that Eaton, who went 3-for-6 with two RBIs, led off a game with a homer.
The White Sox then sliced further into their first-inning run deficit as Adam LaRoche singled off the Green Monster with two outs and Melky Cabrera, who had singled, scored as the relay throw got away from second baseman Brock Holt. The White Sox have outscored opponents 16-2 in the first inning in the past five games, trimming the season-deficit to 74-43.
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An inning later, the White Sox scored three more times as Eaton and Cabrera each singled in a run. Cabrera’s single gave him seven consecutive multi-hit games, making him the first White Sox hitter to do that since Magglio Ordonez in 2003. He finished 3-for-6. Porcello also hit LaRoche with a pitch in thesecond inning to force in the team’s fifth run.
Ramirez, who had two hits, homered in the sixth to make it 6-0.
Carlos Sanchez -- who had three hits and extended his hit streak to 12 games -- had an RBI groundout in the seventh and Tyler Flowers (two hits) singled a runner in to make it 8-2 with Quintana in the game.
The eight runs marks roughly 20 percent of the total previously scored for Quintana this season (41). Quintana entered the game with a run-support average of 2.86, the second-lowest in the American League.
“That’s perfect,” Quintana said. “Gives me a lot of confidence to go out to the mound and do my job and keep the game wide open. That’s good when you get a lot of runs in the first inning.
“The guys continued to keep scoring a lot of runs early in this series. It feels good for me when you get a lot of runs in the first inning and you go out a little bit more relaxed.”
Just like Jeff Samardzija on Tuesday, Quintana knew what to do with the excess breathing room. Even though he wasn’t his sharpest, Quintana didn’t allow a run until he was up six as Mike Napoli doubled in Xander Bogaerts in the fourth. From there, Quintana retired seven of eight hitters before Napoli got him again in the seventh with a solo homer to left.
Quintana allowed two earned runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings, walking one and striking out three. After his complete-game shutout on Saturday, Quintana earned consecutive victories for only the fifth time in his career.
Jose Abreu also singled in a run in the eighth for the White Sox, who finished with 17 hits. Every White Sox starter finished with a hit.
“It wasn’t his sharpest outing, but probably what he’s used to is we’re not scoring too many runs so for him it was a welcome break,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “We got some runs early and he grinded through it, and turned it over to the bullpen.
“Q did enough to get through it. He’s earned it, and deserves it.”