Abreu's hit-by-pitch, Dunn's homer spark Sox
Four-run sixth helps Quintana avoid no-decision for second victory
HOUSTON -- Since April 8 in Colorado, the date and place marking Jose Quintana's latest and only 2014 victory, the steady White Sox southpaw had made six starts and five quality starts.
He also had three losses and three no-decisions to his name.
In a 7-2 White Sox victory over the Astros on Friday at Minute Maid Park, Quintana threw 102 pitches and lasted only five innings. He danced in and out of trouble in three of those innings, but still ended up with the win.
The law of averages finally worked in Quintana's favor, with a boost from the White Sox offense scoring more than four runs for the first time in five games.
"It has been a long time. A lot of no-decisions, too," said Quintana, who improved to 2-3 overall. "You don't have control about that, the no-decision, but I want to throw a good game every five days. And today was good for me."
"He's done a lot for us to keep us in games, and he hasn't won any games out of that," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He's notorious for coming out with a no-decision. It was nice for us to get some runs after that and get him a win."
Quintana appeared headed for another winless night, with the White Sox (21-22) limited to one hit over five innings by Collin McHugh (2-2), until Jose Abreu once again changed the game in the sixth. His moment was a bit more subtle than a 400-foot blast to left that took about five seconds to clear the fences Wednesday in Oakland.
Subtle, but it had a significant effect on the game nonetheless.
With the White Sox trailing, 2-0, and one out, Abreu took one for the team in getting hit by a 91-mph fastball. That hit-by-pitch came on a 0-2 offering from McHugh, after Abreu had swung and missed badly on the first two sliders outside of the zone and had previously fanned in both the first and fourth innings.
Abreu moved Conor Gillaspie to second, with Gillaspie having drawn a one-out walk, and Adam Dunn erased the deficit with a three-run shot into the second deck in right. It was Dunn's sixth home run this season and the 446th of his career. The drive came on a 2-0 fastball down the middle of the plate.
"You get a good hitter's count, and in that situation, he's throwing the ball really well," Dunn said. "I think he made a mistake, and I was able to hit it."
"Truthfully, I didn't have very good command all night," said McHugh, who struck out seven but walked four. "I knew my stuff was good today, but my command was spotty at best, and it kind of came back to bite me in that inning. You walk a couple of guys in the lineup like this, and any one of the six guys in the middle of that order can beat you. Dunn got a good pitch and put a good swing on it."
Ventura's crew added a fourth run in the inning when Tyler Flowers singled home Dayan Viciedo, who had followed Dunn's homer with a double to end McHugh's outing. Flowers connected off of reliever Josh Zeid after an intentional walk to Alejandro De Aza and his sub-.200 average.
This game was scoreless through four innings, before Quintana yielded two runs in the fifth. George Springer's grounder drove in a run, and Jason Castro's single brought home another. The southpaw then gave way to Jake Petricka, Zach Putnam, Ronald Belisario and Frank Francisco, who closed out the White Sox second straight victory on this nine-game, three-city road stretch. Quintana fanned five and walked two overall.
Gordon Beckham's run-scoring single and Gillaspie's two-run double with two outs in the eighth completed the scoring, marking just the third time this season the White Sox had scored four or more runs with Quintana on the mound.
"Every single game he pitches, it seems like for some reason we can't offensively get it going, or when we do, it's when he's out of the game," Dunn said. "He obviously wasn't as sharp as he has been lately or since he's been up, but getting him that win was good."
"Run support, I'm happy with that and the team's win," said a smiling Quintana, who leads the Majors with 31 no-decisions since 2012. "Sometimes you have a regular start but you get a chance for a win."
Along with winning for the seventh time in their past 12 games, the White Sox received good news on the Chris Sale front. Their ace hurler struck out 11 Durham hitters in just four innings while making an injury rehab start for Triple-A Charlotte on Friday night.
More will be known about Sale on Saturday afternoon, when the White Sox face the Astros seeking a third straight victory.