Man on a mission: Quentin leads Sox comeback

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Man on a mission: Quentin leads Sox comeback

Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Posted 5:04 p.m. Updated 7:12 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

KANSAS CITY, Mo. Bad baserunning. Laissez faire defense. Runners forgetting the number of outs. Pitching to contact. Lazy tags. Impatient hitting. Poor jumps defensively. Indecisive base coaching. Optional defense by pitchers. Dropped fly balls.

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The Chicago White Soxs numerous gaffes in Wednesdays 12-inning, 10-7 victory over the Kansas City Royals were erased by, not one, but two dire comebacks late. The first put the White Sox ahead in the ninth after another mighty swat of the stick by Carlos Quentin, who struck a two-strike, two-out double to drive home the lead runs.

"Early in the game was very bad, second part was a little bit better," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen observed.

But after Matt Thornton was unable to hold the lead in his first save opportunity, it took a second clutch hitthis one by Brent Morel, driving home Quentin (who had four hits) and Alexei Ramirezto give the White Sox a 9-7 lead and the eventual win.

"An early season win like that - a back and forth game, us not giving up - that's good to have," said Quentin.

Until the Chisox struck for seven runs in the final three frames, much of the game seemed close only in the way a retired couple sidling up to Old Country Buffet at 2 p.m. is eating dinner, and featured an dizzying array of White Sox slips, bobbles, and miscues.

But with the late reversal, which turned a flatulent 2-3 road trip against Central Division also-rans into a 3-2 soul-stirrer, the 2011 White Sox most definitively showed they were all-Inand not only in the sense we have come to know them, bellying up to the plate and swinging big, with impunity.

This was the first time in a decade that the White Sox overcame a three-run deficit in the ninth to win.

"Never thought it would happen, four runs vs. Royals closer Joakim Soria with two outs," said Guillen. "Crazy game - very crazy game - for both sides. It seems like every time we come here it's a crazy game. We did the little things to win.

"Thank God we won. Huge game for us."

High Five!

With his RBI single in Chicago's four-run ninth inning rally, Paul Konerko became only the second White Sox player ever with at least one RBI in his first five games.

Carlos Lee accomplished the feat in 2000.

Home opener

Edwin Jackson toes the rubber as the White Sox make their U.S. Cellular Field debut on Thursday. He'll be opposed by big Rays southpaw David Price (0-1, 5.14 ERA). Jackson is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA in his career against his former employers.

Last time Jackson faced Tampa Bay, he hurled a no-hitter back on June 25, 2010.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

Preview: White Sox host Cubs in Crosstown Classic Monday on CSN

Preview: White Sox host Cubs in Crosstown Classic Monday on CSN

The White Sox take on the Cubs in the Crosstown Classic tonight, and you can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins with an hour-long White Sox Pregame Live at 6:00 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Tonight's starting pitching matchup: Miguel Gonzalez (2-5, 4.41 ERA) vs. Jake Arrieta (12-4, 2.60 ERA)

Click here for a game preview to make sure you’re ready for the action.

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— Latest on the White Sox: All of the most recent news and notes.

— See what fans are talking about before, during and after the game with White Sox Pulse.

White Sox top Tigers with two walk-offs on Sunday

White Sox top Tigers with two walk-offs on Sunday

The White Sox are somehow still afloat. But just barely.

Melky Cabrera’s game-winning, one-out single in the ninth inning Sunday afternoon got David Robertson off the hook and helped the White Sox to a 5-4 win over the Detroit Tigers in front of 30,281 at U.S. Cellular Field.

Cabrera singled past Nick Castellanos to score Adam Eaton, who reached base four times, and give the White Sox their second victory of the day. Eaton’s two-out, ninth-inning RBI single earlier helped the White Sox win a rain-suspended contest 4-3 over the Tigers. Cabrera’s hit arrived just minutes after Robertson surrendered three solo home runs — all with two strikes — and blew a victory for Jose Quintana, who may have made his final start in a White Sox uniform. The victories kept the White Sox from entirely slipping out of the wild-card race as they remain 6.5 games back of the Toronto Blue Jays.

“I love the guys that are in our clubhouse,” Eaton said after the first game. “We’ve got a tight-knit group of guys that really want to fight for each other. To get the big hit and have everyone rush out there, especially with what we’ve had the past couple of days, the whole year has really been a roller coaster both on and off the field.”

The season’s topsy-turvy nature potentially could lead to a trade of mainstays Quintana or Chris Sale, who earlier Sunday was suspended five games for insubordination and destroying team property on Saturday. It has been widely speculated the White Sox could move Quintana before the Aug. 1 nonwaiver trade deadline in an attempt to rebuild a roster that general manager Rick Hahn said Thursday has been “mired in mediocrity.” An All-Star and one of the top pitchers in the American League, Quintana and his team-friendly contract could fetch a handsome return were the White Sox to part with him in a deal.  

Sunday’s 118-pitch effort displayed exactly why Quintana is an attractive option for a contender as he shut down a Detroit lineup that has given him trouble over the years. Quintana kept the Tigers off balance throughout the effort, never allowing more than one runner to reach base in any inning. He faced two over the minimum through five innings and struck out Miguel Cabrera to end the sixth after he surrendered a two-out double to Jose Iglesias.

Though he started the inning at 107 pitches, Quintana returned in the seventh and recorded two more outs before he allowed a bloop-base hit to Justin Upton. Nate Jones struck out Mike Aviles to end the inning.

Quintana allowed three hits, walked one and struck out four. He also lowered his earned-run average to 2.97.

“He’s been helping through the long run and if he gets traded he’s going to help whoever gets him,” catcher Dioner Navarro said. “But I think he’s going to be a great part of this team for many years to come.”

That would give the White Sox plenty of chances to make up for all the heartbreak they’ve caused Quintana over the years. Sunday’s no-decision was his major-league leading 56th since 2012.

It’s no secret the White Sox have struggled to score runs for Quintana since he arrived in the majors. Even though he owns a career ERA of 3.39, Quintana’s career record remained at 41-42 after Robertson blew his fourth save in 27 tries. Robertson, who earned the win in the first game of the day and also pitched before Saturday night’s game was suspended, allowed solo homers to Castellanos, Tyler Collins and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Quintana’s sub-.500 record is in large part because the White Sox never seem to score with him on the hill. This season, Quintana ranked 126th out of 136 qualified starters with a 3.2 runs per start headed into Sunday.

But the White Sox followed Eaton’s lead. Less than 45 minutes after he won the opener, Eaton singled in the bottom of the first and scored on a two-out RBI single by Jose Abreu. An inning later, Eaton took advantage of singles by Dioner Navarro and J.B. Shuck went he lined a three-run homer with two outs off Anibal Sanchez to give the White Sox a four-run lead.

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The four runs scored for Quintana marks the team’s second-highest output for one of his starts this season.

But it wasn’t enough until Cabrera came through against Bruce Rondon with two outs. Eaton led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second on Tim Anderson’s sac bunt. Cabrera then singled on the first pitch from Rondon to produce the game-winner.

“I'm proud of the guys for what they did over the weekend and how they handled it,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “All of them reached down for the ball. They all wanted to be in there, so I'm proud of them for that. Robbie is disappointed. It's the first time I've seen that one, but I don't know if it was that he was out of gas. Probably some poor pitches and a day like today, you get it up in the air and it's gone.”

Ken Griffey Jr. finished his Hall of Fame speech in most fitting way thanks to Frank Thomas

Ken Griffey Jr. finished his Hall of Fame speech in most fitting way thanks to Frank Thomas

Ken Griffey Jr. was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday afternoon, and he went out in the most fitting way possible.

At the end of his speech, Griffey Jr. grabbed a hat from under the podium and put it on backwards, rocking his signature look.

Griffey Jr. said in his speech that it was White Sox legend Frank Thomas who pitched the idea and ultimately convinced him.

"You gotta do it," said Thomas, who joined Cooperstown in 2014.

The Big Hurt also posted this on Twitter congratulating the newest Hall of Fame inductee:

In his 22-year career, Griffey Jr. played half a season with the White Sox in 2008. He had three homers and 18 RBIs in 41 games with the team.