ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana issued too many walks (four) and threw too many pitches (114 in 5 1/3 innings). Other than that, he made strides after two bad starts.
While it seems strange to take solace in baby steps, that’s where the Sox are with Quintana, who held the Tampa Bay Rays to one run and four hits in the team’s 4-2 victory Tuesday that ended a five-game losing streak.
Matching up against Rays ace Chris Archer, who struck out 11 in seven innings, Quintana struck out seven before being pulled with the score tied 1-1.
‘‘The confidence he showed in high-leverage situations throughout the game were vintage Q,’’ manager Rick Renteria said. ‘‘Hopefully it’s a good game to build on.’’
Quintana was pleased.
‘‘My command,’’ he said. ‘‘Hit my spots better. Hit the corners with my fastball. I was confident in all my pitches. I needed this outing.’’
Yolmer Sanchez hit a fluky home run to lead off the game, Avisail Garcia hit a no-doubt 435-footer to left in the seventh and Todd Frazier cleared the fence in center in the ninth to provide most of the offense. Jose Abreu also singled in a run in the eighth.
On the day he moved up to fifth among American League outfielders in All-Star fan voting, Garcia broke a 1-1 tie with his blast against Archer. He also doubled to raise his average to .333.
The quirky indoor space that is Tropicana Field offered a hospitable welcome gift when Sanchez led off the series with a ground-rule homer. He lifted a fly ball to center that was well-struck but didn’t appear to have home-run distance when it left the bat. As center fielder Kevin Kiermaier was drifting back, the ball hit one of the catwalks that circle around the upper levels of the stadium. By rule, that is a homer.
‘‘I saw a routine fly ball that didn’t even get to the warning track,’’ a fuming Archer said. ‘‘Probably the shortest home run in major-league history.’’
‘‘I don’t know,’’ Sanchez said, chuckling. ‘‘It was good for me.’’
When your team has lost five in a row and you’re coming off a bad individual game, such as Sanchez had Sunday against the Detroit Tigers, you’re not giving it back.
But perhaps the best news for the Sox was that Quintana, who took a no-decision, was good.
‘‘He was awesome,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘He maneuvered and kind of navigated through [some trouble] and got through to let us go on to the next phase of that inning with the relief.’’
The Rays got their run against Quintana when Corey Dickerson legged out a double in the first and scored on a blooper by Evan Longoria that landed just beyond the infield dirt in short right field.
Quintana created a bit of a mess when he walked Daniel Robertson and Steven Souza to put runners at first and second with one out in the fifth. Dickerson lined out to Leury Garcia in center, but Garcia, making a submarine-style return throw to the infield, short-hopped shortstop Tim Anderson, and both runners moved up a base. After walking Longoria intentionally to load the bases, Quintana struck out Logan Morrison looking.
A leadoff walk in the sixth led to more trouble and an eventual bases-loaded predicament for Chris Beck, who, after going to a 3-0 count on Jesus Sucre, got him to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Tommy Kahnle allowed a run in the eighth but struck out Souza with runners at second and third to keep the Sox ahead.
David Robertson pitched the ninth for his ninth save in 10 chances.
Follow me on Twitter @CST_soxvan.