Inconsistent offense fails to support Quintana as White Sox fall to Royals

Inconsistent offense fails to support Quintana as White Sox fall to Royals
July 23, 2014, 4:15 pm
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The throw home was in the right place. Catcher Tyler Flowers was too.

Just so happens that Mike Moustakas’ knee found the perfect spot to smack the ball loose from Flowers’ glove.

That and another quiet day from the White Sox offense added up to a 2-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals at U.S. Cellular Field on Wednesday. Moustakas scored on Nori Aoki’s ninth-inning single and Kansas City earned a series victory as three pitchers combined on a six-hitter. The White Sox dropped to six games below .500 as they ended their homestand with a 3-3 mark.

“That’s a tough play,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “(Adam) Eaton made a good throw to home and a lot of stuff is happening right there. (Flowers) thought he had it and it got dislodged. But you look at how it happened and the play was made and it’s a tough spot right there to be able to hold onto it. A lot of stuff is coming at him. It’s unfortunate.”

James Shields put the White Sox in a difficult position with seven strong innings of work.

[MORE: Flowers made it to hospital just in time for birth of son]

Even though they struggled to score against Jose Quintana, the Royals were in position to win the game as they headed to the ninth inning tied at 1.  

Moustakas singled off Zach Putnam to start the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Aoki’s bloop single to center fell just in front of Eaton, who fired a one-hop strike home. Flowers caught it near the top of his glove and despite bringing his bare hand over to cover it Moustakas dislodged the ball with his left knee and scored the go-ahead run.

Kansas City closer Greg Holland then retired the side in order to secure the victory.

“I thought I had it the whole time,” Flowers said. “I looked at the replay and it looked like his knee was pointing it back and it looked like it was literally straight into the web of the glove. I wish I would have hung on to it, but there was nothing I could do different. I don't regret anything I did and I'm not going to do anything different next time.”

Quintana can say the same for himself.

The king of no decisions earned another one after he gave up a run over seven innings.

Quintana allowed his lone run in the first inning after Lorenzo Cain doubled and came around on a pair of sacrifices.

From there he got a series of ground balls, including double plays in three straight innings. Quintana matched Shields step for step. He struck out Danny Valencia with two on in the sixth inning to preserve a tie and then returned for a 10-pitch seventh inning.

[MORE: Five years later: Recalling Mark Buehrle's perfect game]

Quintana allowed seven hits and walked two over 112 pitches. He lowered his ERA to 3.15.

“I threw more strikes,” Quintana said. “I was ahead in the count and it’s better for me because you stay longer in the game. Sometimes you have games with more strikeouts. Today I stayed longer because I had contact early.”

Shields got stronger as the day went on.

He surrendered a run in the first inning after Jose Abreu doubled and scored on Adam Dunn’s two-out RBI single. The White Sox loaded the bases in the third with two outs, but Shields got Gordon Beckham to bounce into a fielder’s choice.

From there he retired 14 of 17 before handing it off to the bullpen.

Shields allowed six hits and walked one while striking out seven over seven innings.

“Q threw a great game, battled, their guy battled,” Ventura said. “Two guys like that going at it and it’s slim pickings for runs. We had opportunities and weren’t able to really scratch across anything to push ahead.”