Home run heroics from two of the team’s newest faces were enough to power the White Sox to a win, but not early enough to save Jose Quintana from the all too familiar glow of another no-decision.
Getting pulled before the sixth inning is usually a mark of shame for a White Sox starter, but Jose Quintana did yeoman’s work delivering a 4-2 lead to the bullpen. After spending the first two innings dotting the strike zone with his typically pinpoint fastball, Quintana smoothly transitioned to snapping off some of the best curveballs in his career on his way to seven strikeouts on the night. Only Jed Lowrie‘s continued assault on the Sox pitching staff added two runs to his ledger.
Todd Frazier spent most of his first two games in a White Sox uniform looking foolish against curveballs, but figured them out in a hurry to launch a massive go-ahead three-run shot in the fifth inning off A’s starter Chris Bassitt. He actually still got fooled by the pace of the pitch and had to halt his swing mid-path before one-handing the ball out to left. That kind of power used to be confined to Abreu-only on this roster.
Jimmy Rollins joined Frazier in hitting his first home run in a White Sox uniform, this one sending the Sox to victory. With two outs in the ninth, Rollins let loose his best rip on a Sean Doolittle fastball and came up with nothing. Doolittle felt comfortable enough with the result to go to the well again, and Rollins took it over the left field wall. Robin Ventura may deserve some bit of “the best moves are the ones you don’t make” credit in not removing Rollins an inning earlier in favor of a defensive replacement when up two runs late. The power-fueled victory follows up a win just a night before in which they were almost entirely reliant on opportunity provided by faulty defense, already laying the groundwork for an offensive attack less susceptible to critics of a power based offense.
The bullpen was unable to replicate its scoreless effort from the night prior. After Matt Albers successfully completed his one and a third with flair, the eighth inning was given to Zach Duke, but quickly handed to Nate Jones once Duke yielded an infield single to Josh Reddick. Two hit batsmen by Jones spelled the end of a potential decision for Quintana. A single by Yonder Alonso scored both Reddick and Khris Davis, the first HBP victim, to tie the game. Thankfully after the lead was rightfully restored, David Robertson recorded a 1-2-3 inning to notch his second save in as many nights.
Chris Bassitt danced around some minor scoring threats early and as the fifth inning began it looked as though the White Sox could lose a game behind an offense-stifling performance from a pitcher they sent packing and a run supplied in part by the two position players they sent out along with him. The mental damage this would have caused the fan base, as well as the tangible and irreversible damage to the 162-0 dream may have been too much to handle if it had become reality. Instead, another day, and another attempt at a Sonny Gray start awaits.
Up next: 9 p.m. CT Wednesday against the Athletics on CSN & ESPN2. Carlos Rodon vs. Sonny Gray
Lead photo credit: Kelley L Cox/USA Today Sports Images