White Sox 5, Rangers 0: This one feels pretty different

On bad nights, the White Sox scrape together minimal scoring and depend on their starter to completely immolate the opposing lineup — in spite of shaky defense — to prop up a razor thin margin of victory. The formula seems unsustainable, and screams for offensive upgrades to be made.

1. Friday, however, was a good night. Jose Quintana, getting friendly calls on the corner with his looping curve and popping his high fastball, cruised through his first six shutout innings like it was the most natural thing in the world. At the close of the sixth, he had retired 11 consecutive Rangers hitters and struck out four. He would need help to get out of the seventh, and we’ll get to that later, but he lowered his ERA to 1.82 on the night against the most prolific offense in the league coming in.

2. The ball wasn’t carrying in the cold Friday night, but the Sox still managed to manufacture a relative breakthrough against Rangers starter Martin Perez. Sox hitting got the leadoff man on in each of the first three innings and reaped the rewards of simply getting a batter to third base. Melky Cabrera scored in the second after a leadoff single when Texas catcher Bryan Holaday just completely lost track of a relatively typical pitch in the dirt, and Adam Eaton doubled to lead off the third, advanced on an Austin Jackson bunt, and scored on a Jose Abreu sacrifice fly to center.

3. While those outbursts were more functional than fashionable, a stirring two-out rally in the sixth broke the game open, started by Todd Frazier working the first of two walks on the night. A Cabrera double to left — his second hit of the night — put two runners in scoring position for Brett Lawrie, who took a 2-2, 95 mph fastball in on the hands from Perez and was able to fist it into left-center for a two-run double. Despite the lefty matchup he was started for getting chased from the game, Jerry Sands capped the outburst with an RBI single to left to stake Quintana to a 5-0 lead.

4. Quintana seemed entirely too comfortable with the rare lead, hanging a couple of beach balls up in the zone to Prince Fielder and Adrian Beltre and losing his control and walking the slumping Ian Desmond. All of sudden he had a bases loaded, no outs situation, and worse yet, Mitch Moreland laced his next curve sharply to right. But only then did things turn a bit.

Eaton raced under the drive for a gorgeous running catch, fired to first with a throw that dragged Abreu just far enough toward second that it threw off Desmond’s calculation, and led him to overrun first base, then clumsily fail in two attempts to dodge Abreu’s tag while diving back to the bag. While Beltre started advancing from second, Fielder froze at third, and after Abreu recognized the looming traffic jam and threw home to block Fielder, Tyler Saladino directed traffic for a crisp rundown to cap the Sox first triple play since 2006.

Obviously the Rangers combined a lot of incompetence into 30 seconds to make this possible, but with the switch in sides from who is typically running their way out of innings and who is executing competent rundowns during Sox games, and something actually fortunate happening during a Quintana start, the raucous celebration seemed on note for how joyous and new this felt for an April White Sox game.

5. Most importantly, after a scoreless eighth, Matt Albers‘ scoreless streak is at 28 games.

Team Record: 11-6

Next game is Saturday at 1:10 p.m. CT vs. the Rangers on CSN


Lead Photo Image: Mike Dinovo // USA Today Sports Images

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