The White Sox continued to act as a good team would on Sunday afternoon.
They took advantage of the hobbled Minnesota Twins and completed a series sweep with a 3-1 victory in front of 23,801 at U.S. Cellular Field. Jose Quintana improved to 5-1 with seven innings, David Robertson earned his 10th save and the offense provided enough to help the White Sox improve to 22-10. Avisail Garcia extended his hitting streak to nine games with two hits and two runs scored.
The Twins were without Kurt Suzuki and Eduardo Escobar, who went on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday. Joe Mauer and Brian Dozier were limited to ninth-inning, pinch-hit appearances against Robertson.
“These guys are a little banged up,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said before Sunday’s game. “This is not the team that we saw at the beginning of the year or even last year. One, they’ve kind of shuffled the deck somewhat, and (two), they’re injured. I think you should have an advantage at that point when a team is banged up like that. I don’t think you go into any series thinking, ‘All right, these are easy wins.’ But the way you’re playing, you feel confident that you can win those games. It has nothing to do with taking any other team lightly.”
Tyler Duffey’s offspeed pitch made it impossible for the White Sox to just roll over the hapless Twins. He mixed his curve in nicely to keep the White Sox off-balance and off the bases. Duffey faced the minimum through three innings with only Garcia reaching bases on a leadoff single in the third inning.
Down 1-0, the White Sox finally broke through in the fourth inning.
But it wasn’t easy.
Adam Eaton drew a leadoff walk and raced to third on a seeing-eye single by Jimmy Rollins. Duffey struck out Jose Abreu -- one of nine strikeouts for the right-hander -- as he spotted two curves for strikes and wiped him out with an 0-2 curve in the dirt. Rollins stole second base, which kept Frazier out of a double play on an RBI groundout to third.
Garcia — who has raised his average from .135 to .256 during this streak — doubled with one out in the fifth inning and scored on Austin Jackson’s two-out double to right center to put the White Sox up 2-1.
Garcia sparked another rally in the seventh inning when he struck out and reached on a wild pitch with one out. He scored from first on Dioner Navarro’s one-out double to right center to make it a 3-1 game.
During his hitting streak, Garcia is batting .467 with two doubles, a triple, two home runs, six RBIs and 10 runs.
“It’s great,” Garcia said. “Everybody (does) a little bit. Trying to put guys on base for the big guys and trying to score for the pitchers so they can work more easily. That’s what we are here for.”
Navarro is hitting .326/.354/.604 with four doubles, a triple, two homers and 11 RBIs since he took over for Alex Avila on April 23. Avila could come off the disabled list as soon as Monday in Texas.
The run support was plenty for Quintana, who lowered his ERA to 1.38.
Quintana put two runners on base in each of the first, third and fourth innings. But he pitched around Eduardo Nunez’s game-opening double and limited Minnesota to a run in the third on Jorge Polanco’s RBI ground out.
Quintana retired the side in order in the second, fifth and sixth innings. He experienced a hand cramp in the seventh inning after a pitch to Darin Mastroianni. Quintana shook his hand after the pitch and Ventura and trainer Herm Schneider came to the mound clearing him after one warmup pitch.
Quintana yielded a two-out single but got Eddie Rosario to ground out to first to end the inning.
He allowed a run and six hits with a walk and five strikeouts in seven innings.
“I started a little slow, I missed a lot of pitches, but I tried to get the outs,” Quintana said. “It was more good after that. I feel better commanding.
“We feel really good and try to stay hot and play day by day. We’re good. Everybody’s healthy and we want to do the job.”
The defense put in more work to add insult to the Twins’ injury.
Jackson made big catches in the first and ninth. He started a double play in the first, racing in to grab Miguel Sano’s liner at the shoestrings and easily doubling Nunez off second. In the ninth, Jackson raced back to rob Oswaldo Arcia of a leadoff double versus Robertson.
“We've been through that,” Ventura said. “We understand what's going on over there.”