CHICAGO -- Friday was not the homecoming Jose Quintana had hoped for.
Pitching for the first time at the ballpark he called home for 5 1/2 seasons, Quintana took the loss as the White Sox roughed up the Cubs, 10-4, at Guaranteed Rate Field. Quintana should've felt right at home -- the Cubs didn't give him much run support, which was a recurring theme whenever the lefty pitched for the White Sox.
"I threw a lot of years here and it was good to be back," Quintana said. "I tried to give a better show today for the fans. I feel bad about that."
Kevan Smith hit a three-run homer and doubled and scored on Ryan LaMarre's double, and Daniel Palka added a two-run shot to help the White Sox even the six-game Interleague series at two wins apiece with two games to go.
The Cubs' National League Central lead over the Brewers is down to 1 1/2 games after Milwaukee topped Pittsburgh Friday night.
"That's the way we're going to handle it is focus on one game at a time and worry about us and worry about just doing what we want to do -- and that's obviously win the division," Kyle Schwarber said. "We're just going to take it one day at a time and not focus on what other teams are doing."
Quintana had a career 22-27 record and a 3.59 ERA in 84 appearances (82 starts) at the White Sox home ballpark. Yet he was supported with just 3.66 runs per game, the lowest ever of any pitcher to make more than 30 starts here.
The Cubs tallied quickly when Daniel Murphy hit his first career leadoff home run off Reynaldo Lopez. But the White Sox right-hander settled down, giving up just four more hits over seven innings for the win.
"He did a really good job, especially when runners got on, of altering his time to the plate, which can really disrupt rhythm and timing as a hitter," Murphy said of Lopez. "He had that live fastball going, middle to top of the zone. He was able to throw his curveball for a strike and had a good feel for the changeup. He threw the ball well and unfortunately we were unable to get anything going off him."
Quintana cruised through an 11-pitch first before giving up five consecutive hits to open the second, including Smith's home run. However, that homer was the only hard contact among the five hits.
"Outside of the one pitch he made to Smith, otherwise, he pitched pretty well," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.
Quintana was lifted after Welington Castillo's leadoff single in the sixth. Dillon Maples, who is auditioning for a spot in the Cubs' postseason bullpen, took over and served up a two-run homer to pinch-hitter Palka. Maples wasn't the only one who struggled, as the Cubs served up a season-high 19 hits.
The day began with the news that Cubs shortstop Addison Russell was placed on administrative leave by Major League Baseball following accusations by his ex-wife of domestic abuse.
"We are short a player, but we'll be fine," Maddon said. "We've gone through some difficult baseball moments at this point. It's just another day at the ballpark regarding any kind of difficulties we've had. I'm just concerned about the group we have on the field."
No one blamed Friday's loss on the news.
"It's unfortunate," Schwarber said. "The process is going forward. We don't have all the facts. We have to wait until that wraps up. The next step is waiting to hear. It's unfortunate, but you have to wait until the investigation is done."
Anthony Rizzo also tried to look ahead. The Cubs have nine games remaining.
"We're a good team," Rizzo said. "Everyone has to deal with [ups and downs] along the road. Part of the championship makeup is dealing with everything, and it's not going to be peachy every day. You have to figure out ways to win ballgames."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Leadoff man: Murphy gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead when he hit his first career leadoff home run off a 3-2 changeup from Lopez. It was the third leadoff homer by a Cubs player this season. It also was Murphy's sixth homer since joining the Cubs, equaling the number he hit with the Nationals this season.
"He really settled in," Murphy said of Lopez. "Unfortunately we weren't able to get that big hit with runners in scoring position."
After scuffling a bit, Murphy now is batting .324 with five RBIs in his last 10 road games.
"Simply put, I'm getting more base hits," Murphy said. "I got my teeth kicked in for five or six days."
Quintana is the third pitcher to start a crosstown game for both the Cubs and White Sox, joining Edwin Jackson and Jeff Samardzija.
HE SAID IT
"I didn't know that I was facing him today until this morning when I got the lineup and I thought, 'Oh, I'm going to face him.' It's always a good feeling when you're facing a guy like him. He was a very good teammate with me and when you're facing another Latino, it's always an extra excitement there, especially when you're facing a guy like him, it's good. It's a good feeling."
-- Lopez on facing Quintana
"Sometimes you need a day off after a day off. Let's just trust in the power of 24 hours, come back and play our game tomorrow and not get too caught up in one game."
-- Maddon, on his team, which had a day off Thursday after a stretch of 30 consecutive days with a game scheduled
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The White Sox had a runner at first and one out in the sixth when Tim Anderson hit a grounder to third baseman Kristopher Bryant, who threw to Murphy at second for the force. Murphy then fired to first to get Anderson, who was called out. The White Sox challenged the ruling and after a review, the call stood and the inning was over.
Jonathan Lester (16-6, 3.43 ERA) will face Lucas Giolito (10-11, 5.77 ERA) in the second game of this three-game crosstown series on Saturday at Guaranteed Rate Field. Lester notched his 14th quality start in his last outing, throwing seven shutout innings against the Reds. The left-hander has a 1.73 ERA in his past six starts. He beat the White Sox on May 12 at Wrigley Field, giving up one run over 5 2/3 innings, and he has a career 8-6 record against them. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. CT.