White Sox

White Sox win fourth straight series after knocking off Astros

White Sox win fourth straight series after knocking off Astros

HOUSTON (AP) Jose Quintana been pitching well over his last nine starts but had gone 0-7 in large part because the White Sox had managed just nine total runs in that span.

So when his team tacked on a pair of runs in the eighth inning to pad a 1-run lead Quintana was more than a little excited.

"(It was a) good reaction because ... sometimes I wait for runs," Quintana said. "I (do) my job and I wait for support and today the lineup made a good effort."

Quintana pitched seven solid innings to get his first win in almost two months, and Jose Abreu had two hits and an RBI to lead the White Sox over the Houston Astros 4-1 on Sunday.

Quintana (6-8) allowed a season-low two hits and one run while fanning four for his first win since May 8. His losing streak was the longest in the majors.

"Even as difficult as it can be for him to get run support he never wavers as far as his own confidence in what he can do," manager Robin Ventura said. "He's one of the better pitchers in the league. If he can get some run support his record obviously is a lot different. Just mentally he's as tough as anybody we've got."

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

George Springer hit a leadoff homer and drew a walk with no outs in the third. Quintana sailed through the rest of his day, retiring his last 15 batters before he was replaced by Nate Jones to start the eighth inning. Jones pitched a perfect eighth to make it 18 in a row before David Robertson allowed a single and walk before striking out rookie A.J. Reed for his 23rd save.

The White Sox trailed by 1 when Tim Anderson doubled with one out in the third inning and scored on a groundout by Adam Eaton to tie it up. Abreu followed with his single that put the White Sox on top 2-1.

Brett Lawrie and Dioner Navarro added RBI singles in the eighth inning to push the lead to 4-1.

Houston starter Collin McHugh (5-6) allowed five hits and two runs while walking four with nine strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings to remain winless since May 30.

Things got testy late in this one after Chris Devenski plunked Abreu in the left shoulder with two outs in the seventh inning. Abreu remained at the plate and stared at Devenski until an umpire escorted him to first base.

With two outs in the bottom of the inning Quintana threw behind Evan Gattis twice to earn a warning from home plate umpire Ryan Blakney. Houston manager A.J. Hinch immediately dashed out of the dugout after the second one and got in Blakney's face repeatedly yelling: "he threw behind him," and pointing behind Gattis. He was soon ejected and things settled down after that.

Quintana insisted that he didn't purposely throw behind Gattis.

"I tried to go inside and I missed the spot," he said. "A couple of time today I missed in too much. That's all."

The Astros disagreed.

"To not eject him is a choice they made that I didn't appreciate," Hinch said of Quintana. "You're not going to take two shots at our guys and have it not be a spectacle for the entire industry to see. I respect the fact that they want to protect their players you can't do it twice."

Springer gave Houston a 1-0 lead when he sent Quintana's second pitch into the bullpen in right-center field for his third career leadoff home run.

The victory gave Chicago a 2-1 series win, snapping a streak of five straight series wins by the Astros.

TRAINER'S ROOM

White Sox: 1B Justin Morneau, who has been out all season after elbow surgery in December, is scheduled to begin a rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Charlotte on Monday. Manager Robin Ventura doesn't yet have a timetable on how long he'll be there.

UP NEXT

White Sox: James Shields (3-9, 5.85) is scheduled to start when Chicago opens a series against the Yankees on Monday. Shields looks to get back on track after going 1-2 with an 11.07 ERA in his last five starts.

White Sox sign Enoy Jimenez, the 17-year-old brother of Eloy Jimenez

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USA TODAY

White Sox sign Enoy Jimenez, the 17-year-old brother of Eloy Jimenez

One Jimenez just isn't enough for the White Sox.

The White Sox signed the younger brother of top prospect Eloy Jimenez this weekend. Enoy Jimenez is a 17-year-old infielder, and the 21-year-old outfielder ranked as the No. 3 prospect in baseball was on hand for his brother's big moment.

Eloy figures to hit the big leagues early next season, though it will likely be a while longer before his teenage brother could do the same. Still, they're likely hoping for the chance to play together one day.

According to this pretty exhaustive list from MLB.com, four sets of brothers have played together on the White Sox: Homer and Ted Blankenship in the 1920s, Dick and Hank Allen in the 1970s, Roberto and Sandy Alomar in 2003 and 2004 and John and Jordan Danks in 2012.

Should we be getting ready for the fifth pair?

Update: Our Chuck Garfien found this video of Enoy taking some cuts with his big brother — all decked out in White Sox gear, too.

Matt Davidson's incredibly interesting 2018

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USA TODAY

Matt Davidson's incredibly interesting 2018

This season, Matt Davidson became the fourth player in MLB history to hit three home runs in a season opener. It definitely raised a few eyebrows, especially after Paul Konerko noted during spring training that a 40-home run season and an All-Star selection isn’t out of the question for the California native. After clobbering nine home runs (seven of them coming at Kauffman Stadium) in his first 21 games, anything seemed possible.

Unfortunately it didn’t quite turn out that way, though he did rack up his second straight 20-homer season. But it’s hard to argue that 2018 wasn’t a success for Davidson — mostly because of the swings he didn’t make.

Everything else aside, Davidson walked as often as Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo in 2018.

OK, the more meaningful comparison would be Davidson to himself.

What stands out is his walk rate. One hundred fifty three players had at least 400 plate appearances in both 2017 and 2018. Among them, Davidson had the second-highest increase in walk percentage this past season.

Consider this: In 2017, Davidson and Tim Anderson became (and still are) the only players in MLB history with 160-plus strikeouts and fewer than 20 walks in a season.

Davidson, while logging 20 more at-bats in 2018, had the same number of strikeouts, 165, but he increased his walk total from 19 to 52. Give him credit for that. It’s a tough adjustment to make at the minor league level let alone in the major leagues. The increased walk rate brought his on-base percentage from .260 in 2017 (well below the AL average of .324) to .319 in 2018 (a tick above the AL average of .318) and pushed his overall offensive production from 16 percent below league average (as measured by his 84 weighted runs created plus, or wRC+) to four percent above league average (104 wRC+).

And I haven’t even mentioned the most fun aspect of his 2018 season: He pitched! And he pitched well.

Thirty pitchers took the mound for the White Sox in 2018, all of whom made at least three appearances. And only one of them didn’t allow a run: Davidson.

He topped out at 91.9 MPH and had as many strikeouts, two, as baserunners allowed in his three innings of work. The two batters he struck out, Rougned Odor and Giancarlo Stanton, combined for 56 home runs in 2018. They combined for 89 home runs (and an MVP award) in 2017.

In his career, Stanton had a combined 16 plate appearances and zero strikeouts against Barry Zito, CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka and Edwin Díaz. He struck out in his one plate appearance against Davidson.

Davidson is one of just three players with 20 or more home runs and at least three mound appearances in a season in MLB history:

— Babe Ruth (1919): 29 home runs, 17 games on the mound
— Davidson (2018): 20 home runs, three games on the mound
— Shohei Ohtani (2018): 22 home runs, 10 games on the mound

Facts are facts. Davidson is actually serious about expanding his role on the mound.

“To be honest, I would love to maybe explore that idea,” he said in July. “Pitching was a dream. As a young kid, everybody wants to hit that walk-off homer, right? I was the guy striking that guy out. That’s how I first loved the game. My favorite player was Randy Johnson and doing that.

“So, it’s something I would be interested in. I don’t know if the game would necessarily allow that or something like that. It’s something that is really close to my heart is pitching.”

Whether or not it ever happens, Davidson’s 2018 was all about finding ways to increase his value. For the White Sox, that’s a good problem to have.