White Sox defeat Twins, win series

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White Sox defeat Twins, win series

MINNEAPOLIS -- Tyler Flowers had already scanned Jake Peavys vitals before Robin Ventura reached the mound in the eighth inning Wednesday and knew he was good to go.

The White Sox catcher was convinced his starting pitcher was more than capable of handling the games biggest make-or-break moment even though he had thrown 112 pitches. Flowers heard it in Peavys voice and saw it in his eyes and supported the decision to go after Joe Mauer with the tying run only 90 feet away and the go-ahead run at first and two outs.

Also convinced, Ventura left Peavy in and he didnt disappoint as he retired Mauer and led the White Sox to a 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Flowers and Alejandro De Aza scrapped together just enough offense and Addison Reed closed out a series victory for the White Sox and a 4-2 road trip with his 18th save in 21 tries.

The biggest thing is, how are they mentally? Flowers said. How are they feeling? Are they still confident? Are they still being aggressive throwing pitches and not finessing strikes in there because thats when you get hurt. Hes fired up.

Ventura didnt need much to be convinced.

The Twins were only in their fortuitous position after Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis committed an error with two outs to put runners on the corners for Mauer.

Before the eighth inning, Peavy had shown few signs of weakness aside from Danny Valencias second-inning solo homer.

Ventura walked to the mound, heard what he needed to and headed for the dugout even though left-hander Leyson Septimo was ready to face the lefty Mauer.

He still wanted it, Ventura said. I trust him. If I go out there and you hear the right thing, you are going to keep him in there. Late in the game, thats the guy you want in there.

Peavy needed only two pitches to prove Ventura right. After he missed with a fastball, Peavy came back with inside another heater and Mauer popped out to shallow left.

Peavy, who limited the Twins to an earned run and five hits in eight innings, gave a quick fist-pump as he left the mound with the lead intact. He struck out eight and walked two.

This guy is hitting .330, Peavy said of Mauer. You dont want him up in a situation like that. Robin came out to make sure I was comfortable facing him in that situation. We had Septimo ready. But I really was (comfortable) simply because of how we pitched him earlier. Decided to stay hard in and try to get him to hit the ball in the air, and fortunately we were able to do that.

The combination of De Aza and Flowers was fortunate enough to get Peavy enough support.

De Aza opened the game with a single off Twins starter Scott Diamond (9-5) and quickly stole second base. He then alertly moved to third base when Valencia had to dive to retrieve Youkilis grounder and De Aza scored on Adam Dunns sacrifice fly to make it 1-0.

Then Flowers got involved.

After a single in his first at-bat, Flowers tied the game with an RBI groundout in the fifth inning -- his first RBI since May 20.

But Flowers wasnt finished.

He led off the eighth inning with a single, advanced to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on Orlando Hudsons grounder. His work on the bases became critical when De Aza, who finished 3-for-4 and 7-for-13 in the series, lined the ball off Diamond for an RBI single and a 3-2 lead.

Flowers -- who has struggled to produce consistent offense because of his limited role off the bench -- said he was pleased to contribute in ways other than handling the pitching staff and on defense.

Its tough not getting regular at-bats, Peavy said of Flowers. When he got some regular at-bats what hes done, especially a power guy with a long swing, to go up there and keep his feel (is good).

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White Sox snap six-game losing streak behind Jose Quintana

CLEVELAND — Jose Quintana secured only the second winning record of his career on Saturday night and he did it without the use of the changeup and curveball.

The All-Star pitcher ditched his offspeed stuff early and managed to rebound from a poor start as the White Sox snapped a six-game losing streak with an 8-1 victory over the first-place Cleveland Indians in front of 32,088 at Progressive Field. Working mainly with an effectively wild fastball, Quintana, who has only one start left, improved to 13-11 with six innings of one-run ball against the first-place Indians. Six different White Sox hitters drove in a run in support of Quintana.

“You really don’t see him like that too often,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He just gritted through it. He has a lot of heart in him to be able to keep battling through.

“Just not as smooth really the whole time through there. He grinded it out, got us to a point where we could score some runs and separate. He deserves one of these.”

Quintana didn’t look like he could buy an out in the early going as he struggled with command.

Similar to his last start in Kansas City, Quintana was missing by a lot, as much as a foot in some instances, according to catcher Alex Avila. He threw strikes on only six of 21 combined curveballs and changeups, which led to three walks in the first two innings and twice facing the bases loaded.

Even so, Quintana nearly managed to escape unscathed. He induced an inning-ending double play in the first off Carlos Santana’s bat to keep the White Sox ahead 2-0. And, after he allowed an RBI single to Rajai Davis in the second, got Jason Kipnis to ground out with runners on the corners to maintain a 2-1 advantage.

“Best adjustment was to try and throw first pitch for a a strike,” Quintana said. “I started a little slow … First inning I missed the spot too much especially with the fastball. After that I made the adjustment.”

The adjustment included working almost entirely with the fastball, even though it also had a bunch of run to it. But Avila said that worked in Quintana’s favor as it induced a number of pop outs.

Whereas Quintana looked vulnerable in the first two innings, he looked infallible over his final four.

He retired 13 of the last 15 hitters he faced, including nine on pop outs or weak fly balls. Quintana pitched around a pair of doubles in the process and only allowed a run and six hits with three walks and two strikeouts.

“The way he’s pitched, he definitely deserves to have a lot more wins,” Avila said. “But like I told him before, there’ll be a year where it flips the script on him and things will fall into place moreso than has been in the past.”

The White Sox offense rewarded Quintana for his Houdini act, one that had Avila stunned they managed their way through it.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]​

Melky Cabrera and Jose Abreu each had first-inning RBIs as the White Sox took a 2-0 lead. Cabrera’s two-out RBI single in the fifth inning extended the White Sox lead to 3-1 and Todd Frazier belted a solo homer in the sixth to make it a three-run lead.

Avisail Garcia, Carlos Sanchez and Leury Garcia all had RBI singles during a four-run eighth inning.

Perhaps its another sign the luck has turned for Quintana, who improved to 46-45 despite a 3.41 career ERA. Earlier this season, Quintana, whose 59 no decisions are still by far the most in the majors since 2012, finally reached 10 wins for the first time in his career.

Even though Quintana said statistics aren’t important to him, his manager believes they are a point of pride for the left-hander.

“It’s been so tough for him,” Ventura said. “I think it’s important. He has a lot of pride going out and doing what he can to help us win games. For him, it’s a step in the right direction. Hopefully we can score runs like this more often for him. Everybody knows his record would be a lot better if we could score some runs for him.”