White Sox show signs in two wins vs. Cards
ST. LOUIS -- These words came from White Sox hurler John Danks, approximately three hours before Chris Sale took the mound Tuesday night for the start of a short Interleague stop at Busch Stadium.
"For all we know, today is the turnaround and we'll get on a roll," Danks said.
It's hard to officially label Danks as psychic, or even prescient, after just two games, especially for a team sitting at 34-42 overall and last in the American League Central. But Wednesday night's 7-1 victory over the Cardinals gave the White Sox back-to-back wins over the best team in baseball by record and handed St. Louis just its second two-game losing streak at home this season.
More importantly, the two victories gave the White Sox hope. It's really all they can ask for with the half-way point of the season fast approaching and a sizable hole to dig out of for postseason contention.
"They are obviously a good team and missing some key pieces, but you know it's nice to come in here and beat a team like this," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Offensively we put some runs up late, and the [starting] pitchers did what they did, and the bullpen did, too. There are some guys that are starting to swing it."
Tuesday's story was Chris Sale's continued dominance and a Tyler Flowers' 11th-inning home run to claim a one-run victory. Wednesday's tale, aside from three rain delays adding up to 2 hours and 19 minutes, was Jose Quintana's mound excellence in the face of primarily weather-induced adversity, Melky Cabrera showing some power and Flowers launching a two-run homer in the ninth to spark a five-run rally for breathing room.
Even little miscues didn't turn into big game-changing moments. With one out in the sixth, Adam Eaton got caught in between a dive and a slide going for a Mark Reynolds line drive to center that ended up as a triple when Eaton slipped and the ball rolled past him. But Quintana struck out Randal Grichuk and retired Yadier Molina on a flyout to maintain a one-run lead produced by Cabrera's solo homer leading off the sixth.
Pitching has not been a problem for the White Sox this season. It's just getting every other discipline at the same level. Over the last two days in St. Louis, those melding forces moved a little closer.
Flowers has gone deep in three straight games for the first time in his career; Carlos Sanchez has three multi-hit games in his last nine; and Avisail Garcia has a five-game hitting streak, just to name a few.
"There's some optimistic stuff going on right now," Ventura said.
That optimism will be carried into a tough first-half home finish against the Orioles and Blue Jays and then three at Wrigley Field. But it's optimism nonetheless leaving a rainy St. Louis, as these words from Quintana indicate.
"Everybody thinks about getting wins every day," Quintana said. "But it's special for us, because the Cardinals are the best team in the National League."