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Jose Quintana gets first victory vs. KC, White Sox win

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Jose Quintana gets first victory vs. KC, White Sox win

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Jose Quintana worked overtime Saturday night to earn his first victory over the Kansas City Royals.

Making his 17th start against the Royals, Quintana stranded six men in scoring position over seven scoreless innings to pace the White Sox in a 6-1 victory at Kauffman Stadium. Alexei Ramirez and Geovany Soto both homered for the White Sox, who played outstanding defense behind Quintana to earn their third straight win.

“This was probably his best showing with these guys,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He was really getting his curveball over. Not having to rely on a fastball early in the count. He went a little backward. Great curveball, he could drop it in pretty much any time he wanted, kept them off balance. Any time he does that and has command like that, he’s tough.”

[MORE: Adam Eaton continues to excel despite shoulder soreness]

Not much was easy for Quintana -- who said he used a similar game plan to the one employed by John Danks on Friday -- against the Royals aside from the first inning.

Kansas City had runners on the corners and no outs in the second inning only for Quintana to escape unscathed. Jose Abreu made a nice play to get lead runner Kendrys Morales in a rundown before Quintana retired the next two batters to strand a pair.

He also worked around one-out doubles in the third and fourth innings and a two-out double in the sixth.

But Quintana saved his best escape act for last. With runners on second and third and one out, Quintana struck out pinch-hitter Jonny Gomes before he retired Alcides Escobar on a grounder to second with the aide of a fantastic play by Gordon Beckham.

Quintana, who had been winless in six career decisions against Kansas City with a 4.68 ERA, allowed seven hits and struck out five. Afterward, Quintana knew it was his first victory over the Royals. He also said he was pumped up to help the White Sox clinch a series victory.

“I’m so excited to get this game,” Quintana said. “It’s really fun when you get runs. I’m excited to get the series for us and we continue to try day by day to get some wins. We’re ready for tomorrow.”

Kansas City didn’t let up after Quintana departed as Nate Jones stranded runners on the corners when Ramirez turned a fantastic inning-ending double play in the eighth. Jones was the third pitcher of the inning as the Royals cut it to 4-1.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

The White Sox didn’t do much early before the offense woke up in the fourth inning against Royals starter Danny Duffy. Abreu drew a leadoff walk, one of two free passes, and Avisail Garcia singled off Duffy’s glove. Trayce Thompson flew out to deep left center and Abreu tagged up on the play and went to third before Ramirez hammered a 1-2 curveball for a three-run homer.

Three innings later, Soto blasted a solo homer over the home bullpen in left field to give the White Sox a four-run lead.

Adam Eaton and Melky Cabrera added on to the lead with two-out, RBI singles in the ninth inning.

Beckham, who also had two hits and scored a run, was surprised to learn it was Quintana’s first victory over the Royals.

“Q was hitting his spots all night,” Beckham said. “He’s just a competitor. More than anything he just competes. That’s what you want out there as a pitcher. Playing behind him is a lot easier because you know he’s locked in and he’s going to compete as well as he possibly can.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado mania

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado mania

Manny Machado to the White Sox?? It's been the dream for many White Sox fans for months.

With Machado in town to the play the White Sox, Chuck Garfien and Vinnie Duber discuss the White Sox chances of signing the soon-to-be-free agent.

Garfien also talks with Nicky Delmonico who played with Machado and fellow free agent to be Bryce Harper on the U.S.A. 18-under national team.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Rick Renteria issues another benching after Welington Castillo doesn't hustle on popup

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USA TODAY

Rick Renteria issues another benching after Welington Castillo doesn't hustle on popup

One thing you better do if you play for Rick Renteria is run to first base.

Yet again, Renteria benched one of his players Monday for the sin of not hustling down the line.

Welington Castillo, a veteran, not a developing player in need of ample “learning experiences,” popped up to first base with two runners on and nobody out in the sixth inning of Monday’s eventual 3-2 loss to the visiting Baltimore Orioles. He did not run down to first, instead staying at home plate.

So when the inning ended and the White Sox took the field, Castillo stayed in the dugout.

Ricky’s boys don’t quit, or so the slogan goes. But what happens when a player doesn’t live up to that mantra? What happens when they don’t play their absolute hardest for all 27 outs, as the T-shirts preach? This is what happens. A benching.

“It was towering fly ball in the infield at first, probably had 15, 20 seconds of hangtime,” Renteria explained after the game. “I assumed the dropped ball. It has occurred. He could, at minimum, at least start moving that way.

“That’s uncharacteristic of him, to be honest, it truly is. Maybe he was just frustrated in that he had the fly ball and just stayed at the plate, but there was no movement toward first at all. And you guys have heard me talk to all the guys about at least giving an opportunity to move in that particular direction.

“Everybody says, ‘Well, 99 out of (100) times he’s going to catch that ball.’ And then that one time that he doesn’t, what would I do if the ball had been dropped? Would it have made it easier to pull him? Well, it was just as easy because you expect not the best, but the worst.

“That is uncharacteristic of that young man. I had a quick conversation with him on the bench, and he knew and that was it.”

It might seem a little overdramatic, a little nutty, even, to sit down a veteran catcher brought in this offseason to provide some offense and to do it in a one-run game. But this rebuild is about more than just waiting around for the minor league talent to make its way to the South Side. It’s about developing an organizational culture, too. And Renteria feels that if he lets this kind of thing slide at the big league level, that won’t send the right message to those precious prospects who will one day fill out this lineup.

“There’s one way to do it, you get your action, you start moving toward that direction in which you’ve got to go,” Renteria said. “What would’ve happened if everybody’s watching it — and I’m setting the tone for not only here, our club, (but also for) everybody in the minor leagues — and they’re saying, ‘Well, at the top, they said they’re going to do this and then they don’t do it.’

“It’s really simple. And people might like it, not like it. I’ve got to do this, do that so everybody understands what we’re trying to do here. We’re not done with what we’re trying to do.”

This isn’t the first time this has happened in 2018. Avisail Garcia was taken out of a game during spring training for not giving maximum effort. Leury Garcia was removed from a game earlier this month for not busting it down the first-base line on a weak grounder that went right to the first baseman.

It’s become a somewhat common tactic for Renteria, and while it might strike some as taking things a little too seriously, what good is this developmental season if a culture goes undeveloped? The White Sox have placed their bright future, in part, in Renteria’s hands, and they’ve talked glowingly about how the players have bought into his style and how the team played last season under his leadership.

If Renteria truly is the right man for the rebuild, things like this are how he’s going to establish his culture. And it will, he hopes, impact how all those prospects play when they’re no longer prospects and the White Sox are contending for championships.