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Quintana overcomes nerves for quality start

In first home game at Wrigley, lefty works 6 IP, allows 2 HRs
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Making his first home start in Wrigley Field, Jose Quintana could feel the buzz in the air.

"It was a really exciting night for me, the first one at Wrigley," said Quintana, who was acquired July 13 in a trade with the White Sox. "A lot of emotions around me. It's not easy, but I tried to do the best."

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CHICAGO -- Making his first home start in Wrigley Field, Jose Quintana could feel the buzz in the air.

"It was a really exciting night for me, the first one at Wrigley," said Quintana, who was acquired July 13 in a trade with the White Sox. "A lot of emotions around me. It's not easy, but I tried to do the best."

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Quintana showed jitters early on, but he made the most of his first game in the Cubs' home whites. The left-hander went six innings, allowing three runs and getting the win as the Cubs topped the Cardinals, 5-3.

"He was great. He's as advertised," said Anthony Rizzo. "When we played the White Sox, he's kind of the guy I would always hope to miss. It's great to have him here. His demeanor on the mound, it's awesome."

Quintana's day got off to a rocky start, though it wasn't entirely his fault.

Matt Carpenter led off and reached after Javier Baez bobbled a ground ball in the infield. Jason Heyward made up for it with a leaping grab to record the first out of the inning, but Quintana wasn't out of the woods just yet.

"In the first inning, I think, too many emotions," Quintana said. "I tried making my pitch, and I know I faced a really good team [and] aggressive hitters."

Video: STL@CHC: Maddon on Quintana in victory over Cardinals

The Cardinals got on the scoreboard in the second inning. Yadier Molina led off with a single and Randal Grichuk homered for the third consecutive game, giving the Cardinals a 2-0 lead.

Two innings later, after the Cubs had tied the game, Paul DeJong added a blast of his own, knocking a solo shot to center to put the Cardinals in front again.

"He's really good, especially when he has that conviction with every single pitch," said Cubs catcher Willson Contreras. "I think he was super excited to make his first start at Wrigley Field. He slowed down a little and made the adjustments and threw six innings. I like the way he did that."

Contreras wasn't the only one. After the home run in the fourth, Quintana went on to strike out five of the final eight batters he faced. He did not allow another hit and by the end of the sixth was in line for the win, a trend in his most recent outings.

Tweet from @Cubs: A pair of quality starts to begin @jose_quintana24's #Cubs career. �� pic.twitter.com/3GgzFUzKnU

Quintana's outing, which was his 11th quality start of the season, was also his seventh straight game in which his team came out on the winning side. There was one thing that distinguished this win: It moved the Cubs into a tie for first in the National League Central for the first time since June 6.

"It's awesome, the [run] support is really good every time," Quintana said. "First time I come on a team like this one and get [into] first place. ... I can't wait to keep doing my job every time."

Scott Chasen is a reporter with MLB.com based in Chicago.

Chicago Cubs, Jose Quintana