White Sox lineup experiment not pretty, but still gets win against Astros

SHARE White Sox lineup experiment not pretty, but still gets win against Astros

White Sox skipper Robin Ventura trotted out an unusual lineup for Wednesday night’s 4-1 victory against the Houston Astros. Out were starters Adam Eaton, Carlos Sanchez, Alexei Ramirez and Tyler Flowers. In were J.B. Shuck, Emilio Bonifacio, Gordon Beckham and Geovany Soto.

Shuck batted leadoff in Eaton’s place, and Beckham made his first start at shortstop at U.S. Cellular Field.

The reason for the lineup shakeup? For one, the Sox have a day off Thursday before a five-game road trip, so an extra day of rest could do the starters some good. Secondly, Ventura hopes to find a lineup to improve an American League-worst .296 on-base percentage.

‘‘You mix it up,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘You’re not going to do anything where Jose [Abreu] is leading off or anything like that. But you try and mix and match or move him around to where you feel like the guy is going to be the benefit of why you move him there.

‘‘I know in the past there’s been some strange lineups people have thrown out, but for us, we need to try and find a way for guys to get on base.’’

For all the changes to the lineup, this win, like the two that came before it, was all about the pitching.

Jose Quintana matched a season high of seven innings pitched, allowing just the one run on a sacrifice fly in the second inning. He overcame three Sox errors — two by Bonifacio — and an offense that was listless for five innings.

The Sox have struggled to provide run support for Quintana throughout his career, but Adam LaRoche, Soto and Abreu cranked late-inning home runs to complete a sweep of the AL West leaders.

‘‘I don’t know how to explain why, for us, it’s difficult to produce runs when he’s pitching,’’ Abreu said, ‘‘but today we did it.’’

Quintana joined Chris Sale and Carlos Rodon in throwing a third straight quality start in the series. The starters combined to allow just two earned runs in three games.

With Rodon in the mix, the rotation is looking more and more like the dominant crew the Sox envisioned before the season.

‘‘We had three lefties in this series, and I think everybody threw good,’’ Quintana said. ‘‘The bullpen did a pretty good job, too. This is a pretty good start for everybody in the rotation. Three lefties winning their starts is a good thing.’’

The quartet of bench players in the starting lineup combined to go 3-for-12, with two of those hits coming from Shuck.

Although they weren’t particularly productive, they did provide a sorely needed break for the club’s every-day players in a winning effort.

The victory completed the Sox’ second sweep of the season and first at home in more than a year. They now head into a series at Tampa Bay with momentum to go along with their rested lineup.

‘‘By no means are we just letting off the gas,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘We’re not in a position to do that. But you have to find spots to be able to give guys a break.’’

Follow me on Twitter @DavidJustCST.

Email: djust@suntimes.com

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