Jose Quintana escaped the 2nd inning, and that was a moral victory for Sox fans. When he lasted through the 4th, it was longer than he has pitched in either of his previous 2 starts. When he exited the field with 2 outs in the 8th inning, he did so to a standing ovation that he wasn’t likely expecting to see when this big Monday night matchup began.
Tigers (73-67): 1
White Sox (76-64): 6
Things started out with a base hit up the middle for Austin Jackson, which instilled a bit of worry that the singles train would continue for Quintana. Then Ryan Raburn lined out softly to short (though Alexei dropped it, the batter was ruled out, infield-fly rule style) and Miguel Cabrera struck out while Austin Jackson entertained stealing second and was caught in between for the frowned upon but accepted 2-4-6-3-1 putout. In Inning number 2, Delmon Young reared his ugly head and picked up where he left off last series by stroking a single to left. He came around to score a batter later when Jhonny Peralta laced a shot to the wall in left field. Fortunately for the Sox, Jhonny took a bit of time to get out of the box as he admired it and he was thrown out at second.
The 2nd inning for the Sox was the day’s first exposure to missed opportunity. Alex Rios lead off with a double and advanced to third on an AJ line out. Then came a pop out on the infield by DHayan and a weak grounder to third by Alexei. Threat over. In the 4th DeWayne lead off by reaching second on a dropped ball by Raburn. He’d eventually make third on a ground out, but there he’d say. In the 6th following an out by Kevin Youkilis, Wise again reached on an error, this one by Omar Infante. Paul Konerko followed with a single and it seemed that the times of meager threats was finished. Turns out it was. Alex Rios stepped to the plate and launched a 3-run homerun to left field followed by a solo shot by A.J. Pierzynski to dead center and the Sox went up 4-1. Gordon Backham padded the lead with a 2-run HR of his own to put the sox up 5 in the 8th.
Jose Quintana made everyone nervous to start, and he settled in. I mean really settled in. The young Colombian’s trademark of throwing strikes returned as he only walked 2 in his 7.2 innings en route to striking out 7. Only one run was allowed and the 7 hits were scattered in the true spirit of pitch to contact pitching. When much of the White Sox fan base was losing hope in the youngster, myself included, he came up big.
Donnie Veal was able to close out the inning that Quintana started, stranding baserunners inherited from the starter and Brian Omogrosso by getting Prince Fielder to ground out weakly. In the 9th, a bonus: Addison Reed: Closer, in a non-save situation, put the Tigers down 1-2-3.
Plus: Watch out, everybody, Jose Quintana is not done yet! That was a surprise, and a welcome one. It wasn’t imperative that the White Sox win game one of this series, but it goes a long way towards keeping everybody calm. Not to mention you can’t win 2 unless you win 1 first…3 until 2…and you get the picture.
Minus: The top 3 spots in the lineup went a collective 0-11. Though it’s only fair to note there were a pair of walks in there and Dewayne Wise, though 0-3, did reach on an error that you could argue sparked the big 6th inning. Wise has been very luckily since having been acquired and it’s not looking like he’s running out of it. That’s cool, though.
Player of the Game:
Alex Rios – .360 WPA