MINNEAPOLIS — Left-hander Jose Quintana could really get used to this.
Quintana, whose career has been marked by poor run support, was showered with a five-run cushion in the first inning Thursday, and he responded by pitching 6‰ scoreless innings in a 9-0 victory over the Twins.
The help seems to serve him well. Quintana (4-8, 4.69 ERA), after waiting out a four-hour, 50-minute rain delay, allowed five hits and no walks and struck out nine. Since getting crunched for eight and seven runs in his last two starts of May, Quintana has a 2.25 ERA in four starts in June. He got four runs of support against the Jays in his previous start.
“I was really happy with my changeup today — almost tonight, right?” Quintana said of his outing, which was scheduled for 12:10 but started at 5 p.m.
Jose Abreu (47 RBI) and Todd Frazier hit two-run homers in the first against left-hander Nik Turley (0-2, 16.39 ERA), and Matt Davidson hit his team-high 17th, a 434-foot shot against left-hander Craig Breslow, in the fifth.
Davidson also doubled off the center-field wall, and Adam Engel had a career-high four hits, including a double, and his first two RBI. Kevan Smith had three hits.
The delay was the longest in Twins history.
“It’s miserable,’’ Frazier said. “You find things to do. Play cards, kick a soccer ball around, play a trick or dance around to music. We kept it loose and had a good time.’’
The Sox (32-39) stopped a three-game skid and salvaged the last game of a three-game series after taking two of three from the Jays on a six-game trip.
New and improved Pelfrey
Mike Pelfrey has reinvented himself from power pitcher to junkballer, and it just might extend the 33-year-old’s career a few more years.
“I’m a totally different guy,’’ Pelfrey said.
Pelfrey, who starts against the Athletics when the Sox open a 10-game homestand Friday, was 4-10 with a 5.07 ERA in the first year of a two-year, $16 million contract with the Tigers last season.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus showed Pelfrey some numbers and said, ‘‘ ‘Something needs to change,’ ’’ Pelfrey said. “I had an awful year. Guys hit [.327] off me, and he said, ‘You’re either going to be out of the game or you can change.’ ’’
The Tigers released him in the spring, and the Sox picked him up. Pitching coach Don Cooper has Pelfrey throwing fewer sinkers and more curves and using both sides of the plate more. The result? Pelfrey is 3-1 with a 2.03 ERA in his last six starts.
The Sox have agreed to terms with 31 of their 40 draft picks, including first-round third baseman Jake Burger, second-round first baseman Gavin Sheets and third-round outfielder Luis Gonzalez.
Right-handers Lincoln Henzman (fourth round) and Kade McClure (sixth) and outfielder Logan Taylor (16th) from Louisville, catcher Evan Skoug (seventh) from TCU and outfielder Hunter Kiel (18th) from LSU are playing in the College World Series and can’t be signed.
Home cooking, at last
After being on the road for four three-city trips over the first 2½ months of the season, the Sox open their first 10-game homestand Friday. Manager Rick Renteria raised two pumped fists at the thought.
“Being in one consistent place for a while is helpful,’’ Renteria said. “The guys have done a great job not letting [a heavy road schedule] be a nuisance, but it will be nice to be home for the next 10 days and see if we can settle into a routine that can help us.’’
The Sox have played 27 games at home. Thursday’s game against the Twins was their 44th on the road.
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