Young guns support Quintana with long balls


Sep 23, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox right fielder

Avisail Garcia

(26) hits a home run against the Toronto Blue Jays during the fifth inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

The White Sox lineup for Monday night’s makeup game with the equally listless Toronto Blue Jays featured probably only two youngsters worth committing eyeballs to in the lineup. Both of them homered, which was enough to back a young up-and-comer who’s been dominant all year.

Marcus Semien ripped his first major league home run into the left field bullpen in the second inning and Avisail Garcia added a towering flyball out to right, securing all the run support needed for Jose Quintana, who ground out 7.1 innings and held the Blue Jays to two runs in his penultimate start of a brilliant season. Instead of waiting for scholars to uncover his work decades after his death, Quintana’s hard work was rewarded with a 3-2 victory, and his ninth win of the season.

Quintana often fails to jump off the screen at you if you’re not paying attention to what he’s doing. The September chill was bringing his fastball back to its 89-91 mph range, yet he also seemed to be profiting off the way fly ball were dying in the windy outfield plains. The low fastball he split the plate with for a solo home run to J.P. Arencibia in the fifth was clumsily located at thigh-height–about a foot lower than where he thrives–and he followed it up with few more in that regrettable location.

But he could be forgiven for a mid-game swoon. Quintana worked at a swift and efficient pace, striding into the eighth inning before he crossed 100 pitches and compiling his typically luxurious strikeout-to-walk ratio (six-to-one on this night).

A beleaguered J.A. Happ allowed seven baserunners in his first two innings, and left after five innings with 110 pitches thrown. However, the only damage tagged on him came from home run power, which is great for delivering certainty. Semien turned on a 91 mph fastball placed on tee for him to put the White Sox up 2-0 in the second, and Avisail Garcia returned to his ways of hitting neverending fly balls to the opposite field by powering another belt-high fastball into the first row of the right-center seats for his fourth home run since getting traded.

Quintana was curiously left in after allowing a leadoff double in the eighth, and after allowing an RBI single to Ryan Goins and departing, he watched his bullpen walk a tightrope to the finish. Anthony Gose‘s poor sacrifice bunt canceled out his lead runner, but after a Rajai Davis single and Donnie Veal LOOGied a groundout from Adam Lind, the Blue Jays had all the speed in the world in scoring position, represent the tying and go-ahead runs.

But that’s when Saturday’s goats earned their redemption. Nate Jones closed out the eighth by inducing a Brett Lawrie groundout to preserve the lead. Addison Reed came out looking a mess, walking leadoff man Moises Sierra and starting off 3-1 to Mark DeRosa, but the Jays lost interest in seeing a collapse all the way through. DeRosa hacked away at the next two pitches and popped out to center, Arencibia spoiled a 2-1 count chasing a slider for a groundout, and Kevin Pillar couldn’t end things soon enough, popping the second pitch he saw out to Alejandro De Aza.

The White Sox only need to win one more time to avoid 100 losses.

Team Record: 62-94

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