The White Sox have spent more than half their season playing games decided by two runs or fewer.
They have spent the majority of those on the downside of the final result.
Wednesday was no different as the White Sox lost, 1-0, to the Detroit Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field.
Jose Quintana wasn’t rewarded for another spectacular effort as the White Sox stranded eight base runners and lost for the 50th time in 83 games decided by two runs or fewer. Anibal Sanchez struck out 10 over 7 1/3 shutout inning as the White Sox were shut out for the 13th time and dropped to 21-32 in one-run games.
"(Sanchez is) getting you to swing and miss,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “A lot of guys weren’t swinging the bat very good. His ball just seemed to be moving all over the place. Any time he got in trouble, there was guys being aggressive, and he was staying away from the strike zone. His ball seemed like he was making it move to both sides of the plate. Nobody really looked comfortable up there.”
The White Sox 3-4-5 hitters had the worst of it against Sanchez and three Tigers relievers.
While Sanchez couldn’t keep the opposition’s No. 1 and 2 hitters, Leury Garcia and Jordan Danks, off the bases, he made up for it against the middle of the order.
Alexei Ramirez, Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn went 0-for-11 with eight strikeouts and a walk.
Ramirez struck out and Konerko grounded into a double play with two on in the first inning. Ramirez stranded two more in the third inning with a grounder to third and the bases loaded in the fifth with a grounder to short.
With the Sox trailing 1-0 in the eighth, Detroit relievers Jose Veras and Drew Smiley struck out Konerko and Dunn with the tying run in scoring position.
The Tigers pulled ahead in the eighth inning with three hits against Matt Lindstrom. Omar Infante’s two-out single to left gave them a 1-0 lead.
Quintana rebounded after a lengthy first inning to deliver spin seven frames.
The left-hander issued one-out walks to Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder to load the bases. But Quintana, who needed 33 pitches to get through the inning, got Victor Martinez to hit a foul pop out, and he struck out Nick Castellanos to strand all three runners.
Quintana struck out two more in the second inning, including Torii Hunter, to strand runners on the corners as he retired 13 of 16.
Quintana made only 33 pitches in innings two through four, which left him enough in the tank to escape another dicey situation.
Infante doubled to start the seventh and moved to third on a groundout. But Quintana — who earned his 17th no decision in 30 starts — struck out Jose Iglesias, and after he hit Austin Jackson, got out of the jam when he retired Hunter on a grounder. On the play, second baseman Garcia charged in far and fired to first in time to retire Hunter.
Quintana struck out six and limited the Tigers to five hits and two walks over seven scoreless innings. The effort was the sixth time in 51 career starts in which Quintana has pitched at least seven scoreless innings and come away empty-handed.
“That doesn’t affect me at all,” Quintana said through a translator. “It was a close game. We faced a very good pitcher. I don’t control the results, I control what I go out and do. That doesn’t affect me.”
Garcia displayed his dazzling speed several times aside from Hunter’s groundout.
In the eighth inning he cut in front of Ramirez and fired to first in time to retire Cabrera.
Two of the rookie’s three hits — which matched his first 12 games with the Sox — were on the infield as he just beat throws to first. Garcia — who only batted right-handed because of a blister — stole two bases, too.
“I’ve waited for this moment,” Garcia said through a translator. “I want to show what I’ve got, and today was the day that I showed flashes of what I can do.”