After three mostly successful albeit nerve-wracking games in Toronto, the reunion that everyone had been waiting the whole weekend for finally was at hand: Moises Sierra starting against his old Toronto Blue Jays teammates.
Mark Buehrle started the game and was his rapturous, swift-working self over eight solid innings of work, but Sierra tapdanced into the shot at every opportunity, clocking a solo home run in the fourth, doubling Paul Konerko over to third before they both scored insurance runs in the ninth, and even adding previously unseen defensive prowess in right field, making a nice running catch while colliding with the wall in foul territory in the fourth.
A dominant Jose Quintana was the MVP of the Sox 4-0 triumph over the first-place Blue Jays, but if there was a daily, local business-sponsored honor for being the most surprisingly watchable player on the field, Sierra would nab it, and per his nature, skip around happily about it.
As for the heavy lifting, Quintana labored for seven scoreless innings in 90-degree, astroturf inflated heat, popping 93 mph regularly with his fastball, finding show-me strikes with his curve, and adding eight groundball outs to his seven strikeouts, minimizing his risk in the homer-charged Rogers Centre. Allowing just three hits and five baserunners total, Quintana only started to sweat--due to factors beyond the weather--in the sixth.
With two outs and Jose Reyes already on second with a double, Quintana cautiously pitched around Edwin Encarnacion, only to be surprised with a pinch-hit appearance from Jose Bautista. After tepidly falling behind 2-0 and throwing a 2-2 wild pitch, Quintana recovered to force an inning-ending grounder to short from the league-leader in on-base percentage.
The near-perfection was needed, since Buehrle was only vulnerable in the shortest bursts. Gordon Beckham boomed a two-out ground rule double to center in the third, and scored on the next pitch when Abreu lined an RBI single into left field. Sierra made it a 2-0 advantage when he golfed a changeup out to left in the fourth, but the Sox added only one more hit off their old buddy before he left after eight innings.
Sergio Santos appeared to love his old friends more, since he came on in the ninth, walked Paul Konerko, allowed the aforementioned double to Sierra, and had Tyler Flowers plink in a looping two-run single to remove the tension from a smooth ninth inning for Jake Petricka. Now that it's over, the victory is in hand and the plane is boarded, it can be said that I wish Sergio was doing better.
This was the first shutout of the season for the White Sox.
Team Record: 39-44
Next Game: Monday at 7:10 p.m. CT vs. Fake Los Angeles on WCIU
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