Late offensive surge lifts Quintana, White Sox to victory

Late offensive surge lifts Quintana, White Sox to victory
July 29, 2014, 9:30 pm
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DETROIT — Jose Quintana has been a good sport the past 2 1/2 seasons whenever it comes to his legendary lack of run support.

When asked after previous outings if the team’s inability to score leaves him frustrated, Quintana usually defers and instead notes a belief that one day it will be his turn.

Quintana’s opportunity came Tuesday night — albeit late — as the White Sox exploded for seven runs in time to earn him a decision with an 11-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Alexei Ramirez’s three-run double broke open a one-run game in the seventh inning and Jose Abreu homered and drove in four runs to lead Quintana to his sixth victory in 13 decisions.

Afterward, the White Sox left-hander channeled his inner-Johnny Drama and victoriously thrust his arms into the air and said “Run Support!”

“I said last time, one day it would change,” Quintana said. “That day is today. I’m really happy.”

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The left-hander is no stranger to no decisions; he has accrued nine this season in 22 starts and a major-league leading 36 since 2012.

Headed to the seventh inning, Quintana appeared to be in line for another with the teams tied at 2 and him at 101 pitches. Not quite as sharp as he normally is, Quintana worked hard to navigate through Detroit’s lineup. He had allowed only two runs over six innings, but yielded nine hits and two walks.

But rather than have Quintana — whose 17 quality starts is tops among lefties in the majors this season — settle for the equivalent of a tie, the White Sox offense woke up.

With the aid of two Tigers errors (they finished with three and could have had four), the White Sox grabbed a 3-2 lead on Tyler Flowers’ (two hits) single to left off Anibal Sanchez as Rajai Davis bobbled the hit, allowing Conor Gillaspie (three hits) to score the go-ahead run.

Adam Eaton (three hits) then singled off reliever Joakim Soria to load the bases and Ramirez doubled to center to drive in all three. Sanchez allowed five runs (four earned) over 6 1/3 innings.

Abreu, who earlier singled to extend his hitting streak to 18 games, put the White Sox ahead 8-2 with a towering, two-run shot to left. Adam Dunn followed Abreu’s homer with another to put the White Sox ahead by seven. It was only the second time the White Sox have hit back-to-back homers this season and marked the first two round-trippers allowed by Soria in 2014.

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“Hopefully we didn’t waste them all,” Flowers said. “(Quintana) wasn’t feeling that great today, but he battled through it, and it was nice to push those runs across. We were able to string together a bunch of hits and push a few runs through.”

The White Sox — who had scored two or fewer runs for Quintana in five straight starts and 14 of 21 this season -- sent 12 batters to the plate in the seventh inning.

They weren’t done, either.

One out after singles by Flowers and Eaton in the eighth, Abreu, who has hits in 36 of 37 games, doubled down the right-field line to score two more, pushing him past Miguel Cabrera for the major-league lead in RBIs. Cabrera has 81 runs driven in.

Abreu leads the majors with 31 homers and 83 RBIs.

The White Sox finished the game with 15 hits, a well overdue payment for Quintana, whose 3.91 run-support average since 2012 is the third-lowest in the American League.

“I’m very happy we were able to give him some run support,” Ramirez said through a translator. “He’s always pitched good and we haven’t been able to back him up with the runs. That’s baseball. That’s one of those things you don’t control.

“Everybody’s trying to do their best. Today was a good day and we’re happy to support him.”

Now the White Sox just need to figure out how to replicate the effort a dozen or so more times.

He deserves a few more after what he’s been through but I think it’s nice, everybody is just happy for him,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said.