White Sox starter Jose Quintana had faced just two batters and found himself and his team in a 2-0 hole. By the end of the third inning, he had thrown more than 70 pitches. But none of those things kept the Sox left-hander from a strong outing Saturday night.
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Yes, the pitch count was high early -- almost as high as Mike Trout’s home-run ball, which traveled more than 400 feet and cleared the center field fence to give the visiting Angels a lightning-quick two-run edge on Quintana and the Sox. But the ability to bounce back, to settle down, is important for a pitcher, and it seems to be an ability Quintana has.
“He just has guts,” Robin Ventura said. “He kind of battled his way through it, he was bobbing and weaving and they had some guys on. He did well enough to keep us in it and give us a chance.”
Quintana did give the Sox a chance, one they fumbled away when the go-ahead run scored after a fielding error in the third inning. It resulted in the starting pitcher’s first loss of the season. But Quintana brushed the fielding troubles aside after the game.
“I just tried to stop everything right there. Those are things that we don’t control, and I’m sure that my teammate didn’t want to make a mistake,” Quintana said through a translator. “I just wanted to stop the rally right there and just get out of the inning.
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“I’ve got all the confidence in my teammates. Yeah, they make mistake for you, but another day they’re going to save the game for you. I’ve got all the confidence in my teammates.”
Given the lefty’s high pitch count in the early innings, it looked like he was heading for an early exit. But he managed to settle down and last six innings, allowing just the two earned runs and facing the minimum over his final three frames.
“Again it’s a tough lineup to go through,” Ventura said. “You know even extending him through the sixth, it was one of those again he’s a tough kid. And he battled way through and he earned to get the sixth inning even though he had a high pitch count. He was the right guy to do that.”
Quintana, though not happy with the game’s outcome, has now posted four outings this season in which he’s allowed two earned runs or fewer. What did he say was the key to settling in after a rocky start?
“I tried to keep the game close,” Quintana said. “I tried to make quality pitches when I was behind in the count and tried to get out that way. And I was able to do that and keep the game close.”