Everything the White Sox offense has struggled with in 2015 suddenly went right for them on Saturday night as a seven-run fourth inning provided all the support Jose Quintana needed in an 8-2 win over the Twins.
Quintana struggled again in the first inning and his defense didn’t help him out. An error by Jose Abreu allowed runners on first and third with one out. Geovany Soto allowed a passed ball during the next at-bat to bring home Aaron Hicks, giving the Twins a 1-0 lead.
Trevor Plouffe continued his destruction of the South Siders in this series with another RBI hit later in the inning.
“The first inning was ugly all the way around, pitching, defense, you name it,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “So to bounce back from that was a good sign. He’s always able to do that, but the first inning just didn’t leave a good taste in your mouth of how we want to play baseball.”
But Trayce Thompson got the fourth-inning party started for Sox with a double to left off of Twins starter Tommy Milone, who has owned the South Siders in the past.
“You look at that play, and there have been plenty of times guys going hard and the way it is now, if you come off the bag they can go to replay,” Ventura said. “So great job by him holding onto the bag, going as hard as he could and staying on there. It was a good play, and it seemed to ignite that inning.”
Alexei Ramirez smacked the next pitch up the middle to score Thompson. A hit and an error later, Carlos Sanchez’s two-run double with the bases loaded gave the Sox a 3-2 lead. Adam Eaton hit the next pitch up the middle to drive in another run, and Melky Cabrera followed up with a sac fly to plate Sanchez.
In his second at-bat in the inning, Thompson hit an RBI single to make it 6-2 White Sox. Twins reliever Blaine Boyer threw away a pick off attempt at third, allowing J.B. Shuck to score. The seven-run fourth inning tied a season-high for the White Sox (the other time came April 18 against the Detroit Tigers).
“There’s no quit in these guys,” Thompson said. “It was nice to get that inning. It was exciting. The crowd was getting into it. It was a lot of fun and a good night.”
Sparked by the offensive support, Quintana retired nine out of the next 10 Twins hitters. Minnesota threatened in the fifth inning with runners on first and second but the left-hander got Twins slugger Miguel Sano swinging to end the inning.
“The support in just one inning, I felt more confidence and then after that,” Quintana said. “I tried to come back and tried to get quick innings and get the win.”
Shuck drove in another run in the eighth inning with an RBI double to make it 8-2.
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Avisail Garcia left the game early with back spasms and was replaced by Shuck. Garcia claimed after the game that he felt something in his back tighten up in his first at-bat and then it got worse when he started running around.
Garcia got a precautionary MRI after the game and didn’t seem concerned. Ventura thinks his outfielder could miss a couple days.
“Maybe it’s tired, I don’t know,” Garcia said. “It’s nothing serious. That’s the good thing.”
For Quintana, Saturday night was a refreshing break from most of his other starts in 2015. “El Machine” (as Erik Johnson calls him) finally got help from the offense en route to his 22nd quality start of the season, setting a career high.
“I think deep down inside he’s probably ecstatic,” Ventura said. “He doesn’t like to show it, but when you’ve gone through what he’s gone through of not getting runs, he will sleep well tonight.”