KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jose Quintana can cross beating the Kansas City Royals off his to-do list.
Quintana pitched seven scoreless innings and Alexei Ramirez hit a three-run homer as the Chicago White Sox beat the Royals 6-1 Saturday night.
Quintana (8-10) beat the Royals for the first time in 17 career starts after losing his first six decisions.
“I’m so excited to get this game,” Quintana said. “It’s really fun when you get runs.”
Quintana is 4-1 in nine starts since July 24 and has given up five doubles — including two to Kendrys Morales. He struck out five and walked none.
“This was probably his best showing with these guys,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He was really getting his curveball over and not having to rely on a fastball early in the count. He went a little backwards; a great curveball that he could drop it in pretty much any time he wanted. It kept them off-balance. Any time he does that and he has command like that, he’s tough.”
Ramirez homered for his eighth hit in nine at-bats in the fourth inning with Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia aboard. Ramirez was down in the count 1-2 before hitting Danny Duffy’s breaking ball over the left-center wall.
Geovany Soto hit a solo homer in the seventh, his fifth home run in 21 games
Duffy (7-7) was pulled after seven innings, allowing four runs on seven hits while striking out seven and walking two.
The White Sox padded their lead with two outs in the ninth when Adam Eaton and Melky Cabrera delivered run-producing singles off rookie left-hander Scott Alexander.
“They’re obviously in first place by double digit games for a reason,” said White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham, who stroked two hits. “They’re never out of it, so we’ve got to keep playing.”
The Royals, who totaled 27 runs in beating Detroit on Wednesday and Thursday, have scored two runs in two games against the White Sox.
The Royals went 2 for 14 with runners in scoring position. They used three infield singles in the eighth off relievers Jake Petricka and Zach Duke for their lone run. Alex Gordon was 3 for 4 and got Lorenzo Cain home with a slow roller to third baseman Tyler Saladino.
“We had chances, but we couldn’t capitalize on them for sure,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Quintana does a good job of changing speeds with his curveball, locating his fastball and keeping you off balance.”
3B Mike Olt was claimed by the White Sox off waivers from the Cubs. Olt has a career .158 batting average in 111 major league games with the Rangers and Cubs, striking out 119 times in 273 at-bats. He began the season as the Cubs’ third baseman, but appeared in only six games before suffering a broken right wrist when hit by a pitch. “He’s a third baseman, a power bat,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I think we’ve been kind of searching for that. We’ll see how it goes.”
Royals: 3B Mike Moustakas (strained hamstring) will likely return to the lineup Sunday. He has not started the past five games, but did pinch hit in the eighth and grounded into a double play.
White Sox: LHP Erik Johnson will make his 2015 debut after being selected the International League MVP with an 11-8 record, 2.37 ERA and 136 strikeouts in 132 2/3 innings for Triple-A Charlotte.
Royals: RHP Johnny Cueto, who has allowed 17 runs in 17 innings in losing his past three starts, will start the series finale.