Quintana surpasses 200 innings in loss to Royals
Left-hander reaches mark for second straight season; Phegley homers
CHICAGO -- Jose Quintana's start during the Royals' 6-3 victory over the White Sox on Thursday night at U.S. Cellular Field would be considered fairly representative of Quintana's body of work since joining the rotation in 2012.
The southpaw worked deep into the contest, giving the White Sox (72-87) a chance to win. But a little too much offense from the Royals (87-72) and not enough from the South Siders left Quintana (9-11) with the first sub-.500 season record of his short career.
And if there was a perfect example of won-loss record not defining a starter, it would be the 25-year-old Colombian.
"I was talking with somebody about him a day or two ago and they said he's probably two difficult starts away from being a sub-3, in the 2s for ERA," said White Sox catcher Josh Phegley, who supported Quintana with his first homer of the season. "So every time he goes out, you know what you are getting out of him. He's pretty solid."
"It's the consistency," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Quintana, who fell to 0-6 lifetime against the Royals. "He's not going to light up a radar gun or things like that. But as far as being a tough pitcher to go against and having your work cut out for you, he's that guy. He's a strong kid, strong-minded. We're lucky to have him."
Thanks to 7 1/3 innings of work in start No. 32, Quintana topped 200 innings for a second straight season. He threw exactly 200 in 2013 and checked out at 200 1/3 this season.
He also joins Mark Buehrle (11), John Danks (twice), Mike Sirotka (twice) and Wilson Alvarez as the only White Sox lefties since 1991 to make 30-plus starts and work 200 or more innings in multiple seasons.
"I'm happy, I'm happy with that," said Quintana, focusing on the 200 innings. "I tried in the last season to have good preparation and to be healthy for all of the season. I made all of my starts and I was happy with that, but I tried to win my last start and get to 10-10 with my record, but I can't do that. I'm happy with my outings, and this offseason I will prepare better and next year I will get better and better."
Finishing with a no-decision, in what would have been Quintana's 40th since '12, would have seemed to be a fitting way to close out his season. That scenario actually should have played out, when Jake Petricka replaced Quintana with one out in the eighth and runners on first and third.
Slow-footed Billy Butler hit a ground ball to shortstop Alexei Ramirez that looked to be a perfect double-play opportunity, taking Quintana off the hook. But second baseman Marcus Semien's relay throw one-hopped first baseman Jose Abreu, who couldn't make the scoop to prevent Lorenzo Cain, who went 4-for-5, from scoring.
"[Eric Hosmer] did a great job of busting it down the line [to second]," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We just got lucky right there."
"We had a shot there to get out of it for him and we didn't," Ventura said. "You've got to be able to do that."
Quintana was charged with five runs on 11 hits, finishing the year with a 3.32 ERA. He struck out seven and didn't issue a walk, leaving him with 178 strikeouts and 52 free passes, not to mention just 10 homers allowed.
Phegley's homer off of James Shields in the second inning gave the White Sox a 2-1 lead that would grow to 3-1 through four. But the Royals tied the game in the sixth and gave way to their stellar bullpen trio of Kelvin Herrera (4-3), Wade Davis and Greg Holland (45 saves).
Kansas City reduced its magic number to one for an American League Wild Card and clinched a tie with Seattle for at least a play-in contest for the playoffs. The White Sox have just three games remaining, with their biggest focus being a heroic sendoff for captain Paul Konerko as Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter received in New York.
"Hopefully, Paulie has something like that," said Ventura of Jeter's walk-off hit Thursday. Konerko is scheduled to start the final three games.