The White Sox have scored runs in bunches this season.
Just not when Jose Quintana has been on the mound.
But the White Sox righted the wrong for at least one start on Monday afternoon as they backed their young left-hander in a 6-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians in front of 17,075 at U.S. Cellular Field.
Dayan Viciedo hit a three-run home run and Conor Gillaspie had a career-high four hits, including three doubles in support of Quintana (3-4). The White Sox won for the seventh time in 12 games to move back within a game of .500.
“It’s a great thing,” Viciedo said through team translator Lino Diaz. “I feel like it should give (Quintana) more confidence when he’s pitching ahead and he has a few runs on top. That was good when we were able to score three runs and (he) just pitched freely.”
Even though Quintana has allowed three or fewer runs in 10 of 11 starts this season it hasn’t added up to a lot of wins.
The White Sox didn’t let another solid start -- Quintana allowed two runs over six innings -- go unrewarded.
Trailing 1-0 in the third inning, the White Sox made Cleveland’s two-out error on Marcus Semien’s grounder a costly one.
Gillaspie, who raised his average to .352, singled to put two aboard for Viciedo, who jumped on a 1-2 curveball from Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin (3-2) and planted it 20 rows up in the left-field bleachers. The three-run homer, Viciedo’s fifth, traveled an estimated 425 feet.
After Cleveland trimmed the lead to 3-2, the White Sox offense got going again. Gillaspie doubled to start the sixth inning and moved to third on Viciedo’s single to left. Alexei Ramirez then singled with two strikes off reliever Bryan Shaw to make it 4-2. Alejandro De Aza also singled in a run to give the White Sox a three-run cushion. Marcus Semien also singled with one out in the seventh and scored from first on Gillaspie’s RBI double to left-center to make it 6-2.
“We saw it all last year, we were giving everybody extra outs, and you pay for it,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “In this league, more often than not you’re going to pay for it. Tank had a big swing there and later you start adding on. Those are the things that stretch it out that we didn’t do the other day. Today we were adding on.”
Quintana loved it.
Through the first 66 starts of Quintana’s career, he has received two or fewer runs 39 times. His 4.16 run-support average is the second-lowest mark in the American League since 2012.
But even after his latest loss on Wednesday in Kansas City, a game in which he entered the eighth inning with only one run allowed, Quintana refused to get frustrated.
Monday’s production was more than ample for Quintana, who received at least five runs of support for only the second time this season.
Though he battled a high early pitch count and the loss of catcher Tyler Flowers, who was ejected in the fifth inning, Quintana pitched six innings.
He struck out the side in the third inning to get out of a jam with only one run allowed on Michael Brantley’s two-out RBI single. He allowed another run in the sixth inning on an RBI single by Ryan Raburn but benefitted from a bad call that league officials didn’t overturn. Raburn was thrown out at second on the play and even though a replay appeared to show he was safe, league officials said the call stood. Nick Swisher then grounded out for the final out of the inning.
Quintana allowed five hits with two walks and struck out five as he won for the second time in three starts after going without a victory since April 8.
“I felt relaxed,” Quintana said. “I’m so happy with the support.
“It's a good feeling. It was good to win.”
Good support or bad, the White Sox know Quintana will give them the same effort no matter. They also hope to deliver more joy to a teammate who never seems to get frustrated despite his misfortune. Even though he lowered his career ERA to 3.61, Quintana’s record is only 18-17.
“We know he’s a guy that he does his job regardless,” Viciedo said. “It’s definitely good to provide for him and give him some support.”