PEORIA, Ariz. -- The lone blight on an otherwise spectacular Friday afternoon for Jose Quintana came courtesy of his newly refined pickoff move.
The White Sox left-hander allowed a pair of first-inning runs after he was called for a balk. Quintana recovered and retired 16 of the last 17 batters he faced, striking out seven.
He even left with the lead, but the White Sox lost to the Seattle Mariners 5-4 in 10 innings at Peoria Sports Complex. Quintana allowed two runs (one earned), two hits and a walk in six innings.
“It was a surprise for me because I keep working on that, the pickoffs and better move,” Quintana. “I (moved) my feet at a 45-degree angle and they call a balk. I try to keep going with that and next time, I hope they don’t call a balk.”
White Sox pitchers have spent a decent amount of time working on their pickoffs moves this spring. Manager Robin Ventura’s staff was visibly upset with the call in the visiting dugout as it sent Nori Aoki to second base. Aoki moved to third when Quintana’s third strike to Kyle Seager went for a wild pitch to put runners on the corners. Quintana allowed a bases-loaded sacrifice fly and would have escaped the inning without further damage but Tyler Saladino booted an inning-ending grounder, allowing a second run to score.
But Quintana picked up steam and cruised through his final five innings. He threw 90 pitches and tacked on another 15 in the bullpen.
“The chief umpire said that I move my body to home plate,” Quintana said. “You want to move your body to home plate because you want the runner to see you. You have a chance to pick off a guy.
“I’m really happy. I came back quick because it was a tough first inning. But that’s the point -- when you can come back, that’s most important for the pitcher. Go long in the game. You know, try to keep the score close and get the win.”
[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]
Quintana was in line for a victory courtesy of an Austin Jackson grand slam in the seventh inning off Justin De Fratus. Nate Jones struck out all three batters he faced in a scoreless inning.
But the Mariners rallied in the ninth inning against Justin Turner. Nelson Cruz hit a game-tying two-run homer. Leonys Martin homered off Turner in the 10th to win the game.
Jose Abreu went 2-for-3 in the losing effort.