Big-boy ball: Quintana, Sox snap losing streak at five games

Big-boy ball: Quintana, Sox snap losing streak at five games
June 24, 2014, 9:00 pm

BALTIMORE — So that’s what Robin Ventura had in mind when he asked for the White Sox to wear their big-boy pants.

Well for starters, anyway.

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Jose Quintana’s offense got him some early runs and he did the rest as the White Sox snapped a five-game losing streak by edging past the Baltimore Orioles 4-2 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Tuesday night.

Quintana allowed a run and six hits over seven sharp innings and the White Sox won for the first time in six games on their 11-game road trip. A night after he surrendered a game-winning home run, Ronald Belisario earned his eighth save after he allowed the tying run to reach base.

“After the last five days, you need that,” Ventura said. “It was a good effort by Q to get us in a spot to win. We did enough to win.”

Just enough.

But after five games in which they made just enough mistakes to beat themselves and dropped to a season-worst seven games below .500, the White Sox will take it anyway they can.

Quintana was the driving force in the victory as he made a series of big pitches late in the game his manager approved of.

The biggest came in the sixth and seventh innings after the Orioles offense finally got going.

Quintana allowed a leadoff solo homer to Steve Pearce in the sixth inning to cut the White Sox lead to 3-1 and Adam Jones doubled. But Quintana struck out both Nelson Cruz and Chris Davis — who delivered Monday’s game-winning homer — and got J.J. Hardy to fly out to keep the lead at two runs.

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After he allowed a leadoff single and issued a one-out walk in the seventh, Quintana had one more big pitch left in him and got Nick Markakis to bounce into a 6-4-3 double play.

Quintana struck out eight and walked three in a 115-pitch effort.

“It feels really, really good tonight,” Quintana said. “My pitches were working really good. I wanted to win this game to break the bad streak.”

The White Sox offense showed the same desire to snap their streak, though they let one too many opportunities slip away.

Gordon Beckham got his team going quickly with a first-inning solo home run to left field with one out. An inning later, the White Sox increased their advantage to 2-0 on Alejandro De Aza’s one-out RBI single, which was preceded by an Alexei Ramirez double and a grounder to second by Dayan Viciedo that allowed Ramirez the chance to move up 90 feet.

The White Sox added another run in the fourth inning off Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez with three straight two-out singles, the last by Tyler Flowers to drive in a run.

Just for good measure, the White Sox even added a late insurance run. Ramirez singled to start the eighth, stole second base, moved to third on a passed ball and scored when Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph missed him with a tag on an RBI fielder’s choice by De Aza.

“Not exactly the way we’ve still got to do it,” first baseman Jose Abreu said through a translator. “We’ve still got a way to go. But we are pleased with how some of our teammates played the game today. We’ve still got a while to go but we’re pleased with the result.”

Not 100 percent pleased, but enough.

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The White Sox stranded runners on in each of the first two innings and then left the bases loaded in the fourth when Beckham grounded out.

The White Sox loaded the bases again in the fifth inning but Ramirez — who hasn’t had an RBI since May 26 — popped out and Viciedo grounded into a double play.

Another double play ended a sixth-inning rally as well as the White Sox scored only four runs despite putting 15 men on base.

But Quintana’s effort and four double plays, including Ryan Flaherty’s off Belisario to end the game, got the White Sox back where they want to be.

“We played good ‘D’ tonight and had a gutsy performance by Q and then we got it done in the ninth,” Beckham said. “It’s definitely a step in the right direction even though we could have put that game away a little earlier.”