MILWAUKEE — The White Sox took another small step toward pulling themselves out of their early-season doldrums Wednesday night.
Behind Jose Quintana’s masterful seven innings, the White Sox beat Milwaukee, 4-2, at Miller Park to lock down their first road series win of the season. After losing Game 1 in Wisconsin, Chris Sale and Quintana turned in back-to-back strong outings to double the White Sox number of road wins on the season.
“For Chris to get the first one yesterday and Q coming back and almost going eight, it is important,” manager Robin Ventura said. “It's important to kind of get that mindset out there for those guys. I know that's what they want and it's good to get close to that.”
The White Sox entered this series at Miller Park with a major league worst 2-11 road record, though they hadn’t lost any of their five series at U.S. Cellular Field. But 97 miles north up I-94, the White Sox finally started to look like the team they thought they’d be, even if it came at the expense of the last-place Brewers.
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Quintana was handed a three-run lead before even taking the mound Wednesday. Melky Cabrera’s first-inning sacrifice fly scored Adam Eaton, who led off the game with a 12-pitch at-bat, and was promptly followed by back-to-back home runs from Avisail Garcia and Adam LaRoche. It was the first time in 2015 the White Sox hit back-to-back home runs.
The 26-year-old left-hander took it from there and said the comfort of an early lead helped as he faced one over the minimum through six. He ran into some seventh inning trouble, allowing leadoff singles to Khris Davis and Ryan Braun, but Emilio Bonifacio’s outstanding diving stop took away a hit from Carlos Gomez for the first out. Quintana shut the door on a swift Brewers comeback by striking out Adam Lind and Martin Maldonado to end the frame.
Quintana’s shutout was broken up in the eighth, but his final stat line remained impressive: Seven innings, one run, four hits, one walk and 10 strikeouts. He threw 80 of his 112 pitches for strikes.
“He threw great,” Ventura said. “He was throwing strikes, got ahead early. We got a nice lead for him there in the first. We had a rally early that was nice to see. He did it on his own. That's more of the stuff you expect out of him. When he throws strikes like that and is that aggressive, he's been good.”
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Pitching, defense, timely hitting and a couple home runs — that’s a pretty sound winning formula.
“Everything’s coming together,” Garcia said. “We had a bad road (trip two weeks) ago, so we have to keep working and hopefully everybody stays healthy.”
The White Sox aren’t getting ahead of themselves after taking these last three series, seeing as they’re still three games under .500 heading into this weekend’s set in Oakland. But there’s a confidence that, finally, the arrow is pointing up and they might just finally be entering an era of good feelings.
“We’ve had a good atmosphere in the dugout, the guys have been playing really hard, the offense is coming through, the pitching’s doing well,” closer David Robertson, who notched save No. 7 Wednesday, said. “We’re just playing a lot better brand of baseball now.
“… The good thing about baseball is you play 162 games so we have plenty of time to figure it out.”