Soto's bunt, replay review spark breakthrough
White Sox finally manufacture runs to back Quintana
ANAHEIM -- Although nothing official has ever been announced, there are times where it seems almost illegal for the White Sox offense to string a few hits together when Jose Quintana is on the mound.
That ban was temporarily lifted during a five-run, six-hit fifth inning in Thursday's 8-2 White Sox victory over the Angels, ending the South Siders' seven-game road losing streak and avoiding a four-game sweep at Angel Stadium. And what might be the biggest hit in the inning, a Geovany Soto bunt, traveled the shortest distance.
It also came under an interesting set of circumstances. Adam LaRoche and Alexei Ramirez opened the frame with singles off of Nick Tropeano, who then fell behind in the count to Soto at 2-1. Manager Robin Ventura put the hit and run on at that point, only to have Soto foul off the fastball.
With the infield dropping back on two strikes, Soto pushed a bunt toward first baseman C.J. Cron and ended up beating it out for a single. The bases were loaded, and the scoring was about to begin.
"I just wanted to make sure that I get those guys over," Soto said. "It's a pitch in the zone that I could just tap and put it in play. That was all I was worried about to move the runners. I ended up getting on with nobody out and bases loaded. That was really good."
"The last few days, it's been difficult getting guys on third base. You start forcing guys moving around," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of the unorthodox call. "Knowing Geo can bunt, it turns out being a hit you weren't expecting. He did a nice job, they move back with two strikes and you trust he can get that down."
Carlos Sanchez (single), Adam Eaton (sacrifice fly) and Tyler Saladino (single) all picked up RBIs, but Jose Abreu won the honors for strangest hit of the inning. With two men on, he lined a 3-2 changeup down the left field line originally ruled foul by third-base umpire Dana DeMuth. Ventura immediately challenged the call, and replay clearly showed that the ball hit the line and kicked up some chalk to lead to an overturn.
Since Saladino was running from first, two runners were allowed to score and Abreu had his second and third RBIs of the night on the double.
"If I wasn't able to race to second base, they'd have to fire me," said a laughing Abreu through interpreter and White Sox Spanish language broadcaster Billy Russo.
"You can get to a point where you feel like you're not getting a break here and there," Ventura said. "That's part of having replay: You can actually take a look at it. It's a pretty big play that's overturned and goes your way."
Big enough to give Quintana a much-deserved win and the White Sox some momentum going into Seattle.
"Finally it was a good inning for us," Abreu said. "That was the breaking point in the game."
"We haven't had a bunch of those. We are always searching for that," said LaRoche of the five-run fifth. "We haven't been able to put a big one together and tonight we did."