Jose Quintana is grateful for his defense and offense picking him up.
That's not something he's used to feeling after years of borderline-laughable run support from the White Sox in games he started.
But as he made his Wrigley Field debut in a Cubs uniform Sunday night, Quintana served up three rockets in a row to the heart of the Cardinals order and all three wound up as outs.
First it was a lineout to Jason Heyward in right field where the Gold Glover leapt in the air and did something of a karate kick while catching the ball.
Another hard liner at Heyward followed before Jedd Gyorko laced a double into the left-centerfield gap. But Kyle Schwarber retrieved it quickly, made a perfect throw to Addison Russell who spun and made a quick throw to Willson Contreras at the plate to nab Matt Carpenter by a mile.
Thus endeth the first top of the first inning for Quintana at "The Friendly Confines."
"At the beginning of the game, he might've been a little overexcited," Joe Maddon said. "He was too quick with all of his actions. The pitches weren't going where he wanted them to go.
"And then I thought he settled in very well. He wasn't as sharp as in Baltimore, but he was good. He was very good."
Quintana allowed three runs on five hits and a pair of walks in six innings, recording the bare minimum requirements for a quality start. He also picked up his second win in as many outings with the Cubs when batterymate Willson Contreras hit a game-winning two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth.
Quintana agreed with Maddon that he was a little over-exuberant in this one.
"Too many emotions for me," he said. "It was one I enjoyed a lot. I was just trying to focus on inning by inning."
This is the first time Quintana has been on a team in the playoff hunt since his rookie season in 2012 when the Sox went 85-77 and missed the playoffs.
With Sunday's win, the Cubs have moved back into a share of first place and Quintana is all about the success.
"That's awesome," he said. "First time. To come into a team like this one and get to first place, that's amazing. I want to keep doing my job."
Now Quintana will have four days to sit back, relax, strap it down and watch the Crosstown Series knowing he won't have to go in and face a bunch of guys who he called teammates just two weeks ago.
Quintana's next start will come Friday in Milwaukee.
"He's as advertised," Anthony Rizzo said. "Really didn't enjoy facing him. When we played the White Sox, he was the guy I always hoped to miss. To have him here and his demeanor on the mound is awesome."