White Sox catch break, get a win

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Chicago White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana throws against the Detroit Tigers in a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016 in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

DETROIT – After left-hander Zach Duke got traded Sunday, he couldn’t help but marvel what it must be like to have seen the 2016 White Sox from the outside. He closed his exit interview with Sox media with a smile, noting the bizarre stories that had already been covered with two months left in the season.

There was the Drake LaRoche saga during spring training, which became a national story when his father, designated hitter Adam LaRoche, retired after being told his uniformed son couldn’t spend as much time in the clubhouse.

After a 23-10 start and the nosedive that followed, staff ace Chris Sale tore up 1970s throwback uniforms he didn’t want to wear and was sent home, missing his start against the Tigers and serving a five game suspension. Somehow, that one topped the LaRoche debacle in kooky points.

And then this week, Charlie Tilson, the St. Louis Cardinals outfield prospect acquired for Duke, tore his hamstring trying to run down a fly ball five innings into his first major league game. Tilson was the fourth Sox injured during or before his major league debut this season, which, on a probability scale, somehow tops the LaRoche-Sale incidents on a “things you’ll never see again” scale.

So when rookie Tim Anderson left Thursday’s 6-3 victory over the Tigers after getting hit by a pitch from right-hander Jordan Zimmermann on the left hand, everyone who has followed the Sox this year feared the worst.

But, exhale, X-Rays were negative, the Sox broke loose with five runs in the second inning and went on to stop the Tigers’ eight-game winning streak. For the AL-Centrally challenged Sox, it was their first win in 12 road games against the Tigers, Indians and Royals.

“Yeah, I didn’t have good thoughts when I heard it [hit the left side of Anderson’s left hand], the way things have been going,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “When it hit him it sounded pretty flush.’’

Anderson, a former first-rounder and one of the only Sox prospects showing much of anything, said he’ll probably miss a few days with a bruise. He was “scared” at first.

“I was relieved to get those X-Rays,’’ Anderson said, echoing sentiments of everyone in an organization that has endured a brutal couple of months.

“Yeah, I was kind of worried,’’ Anderson said. “But it wasn’t anything. It got more fat than bone.’’

Anderson stayed in the game but left after scoring on Justin Morneau’s sacrifice fly. In the second, the Sox clobbered Zimmerman for five more runs, including Jose Abreu’s first homer in 32 games and Avisail Garcia’s third of the series against his former team. All three for Garcia traveled more than 400 feet.

The beneficiary was the run-support challenged Jose Quintana (9-8), who gave up a homer to the first batter he faced, Ian Kinsler, and the last, Miguel Cabrera. In between Quintana (three runs allowed) was strong.

The win snapped the Tigers’ eight-game winning streak and halted the Sox’ skid of seven straight losses at Comerica Park and three losses overall. The Sox also hadn’t won on the road this year in their first 11 tries against the best teams in the AL Central – Indians, Royals and Tigers.

At 52-56, the Sox return home for the weekend to play the Orioles before hitting the road again for a nine-game trip including series in Kansas City and Cleveland. They completed an eight-game “road” trip including two games against the Cubs at 2-6 and have won only seven of their last 21 overall.

Quintana called the run support “amazing” and Ventura was looking forward to a flight home for once. The Sox have had some rough ones this year, and not because of turbulence.

“It’s nice when guys swing the bat like that and Q gets a win,’’ Ventura said.


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