The White Sox didn't play well for the first five innings Friday night. They generated just one baserunner against Houston starter Colin McHugh the first time through the order, Dayan Viciedo booted the Astros into a two-run inning in the fifth, Conor Gillaspie threw a ball into right field in the sixth, and Quintana mixed flashes of overwhelming stuff with some loose fastball command that kicked up his pitch count.
But, as often the case, being a lot, lot better for a small stretch of time will do. Facing a 2-0 deficit in the sixth, the Sox fell back on their winning strategy from Wednesday: they lucked into a couple guys getting on base, then had a large man hit a massive three-run homer. Early offseason Astros investments in their bullpen were hard to locate as the Sox poured on three more in what turned into an easy 7-2 victory.
After he placed himself in danger by walking Gillaspie and plunking Jose Abreu with a 0-2 off-speed pitch, McHugh ruined his promising night by floating a thigh-high fastball Adam Dunn, who cranked it into the second deck of the right field seats. To add comedy, the Sox added their fourth run of the inning after Dayan Viciedo ripped a double to left, and the Astros intentionally walked Alejandro De Aza and his .543 OPS for fear of placing him against opposite-handed pitching, only for Tyler Flowers to flip an RBI single down the line.
Two-out hits from Gordon Beckham and Gillaspie put three unearned runs on the board in the eighth after De Aza reached base due to a bad throw and Flowers drew the Sox seventh walk of the night.
In a strange switch of typical roles, Jose Quintana picked up the win after barely working his way through five innings, He got whiffs when he needed to with a cutter/slider that was effective against opposite-handed pitching, but struggled with efficiency and spotting his fastball. When Viciedo bobbled a ball in left and turned leadoff singles to Jose Altuve and Jonathan Villar into runners at second and third, Quintana labored his way to the 100-pitch mark while allowing RBI singles to George Springer and Jason Castro.
The formerly maligned Sox bullpen was a shade more efficient. They used 60 pitches to cruise through four scoreless innings, and allowed just four baserunners. Jake Petricka came back from a 2-0 count to strike out George Springer in the sixth, after a two-base throwing error by Gillaspie threatened the lead. Frank Francisco pitched the ninth and basically emasculated everyone.
Team Record: 21-22
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