Quentin’s 3 homers power White Sox past Rangers

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ARLINGTON, Texas – Carlos Quentin hit two home runs Tuesday night and one more on Wednesday morning – all in the same game – to power the White Sox to an 8-6 victory against the Texas Rangers.

It ended at 1:27 a.m., about six hours after Quentin hit a home run in the first inning. He crushed a mammoth opposite-field homer in the third inning into the teeth of a strong wind that came rushing in with a scary storm that later sent fans scurrying for cover.

Less than 12 hours before the White Sox were due back to Rangers Ballpark for a 1:05 p.m. matinee game on Wednesday, Sergio Santos got the last four outs to preserve the victory, the Sox’ 12th in their last 17 games. It was Santos’ seventh save.

“Two in the morning, you might as well win it,” Santos said.

Tony Pena (1-1), the second of six relievers to follow Jake Peavy, gave up two runs on one inning but got the win. It was so windy while Peavy was on the mound that plate umpire Tim McClelland visited Peavy and told him he was balking – because Peavy couldn’t keep his balance standing on the mound while pitching from the stretch.

“That was almost unplayable,” Peavy said. “No excuses, I didn’t make a whole lot of good pitches.

“I didn’t have good stuff and the location wasn’t that good. Those are the starts you like to find out where you stand, go out there and battle through and get a quality start. At the end of the day, we walked away with a big White Sox win we had to have.”

Besides Quentin’s first three-homer game that pushed his total to 12, Adam Dunn hit a tiebreaking shot for his first home run since May 11, and Juan Pierre stole a base – his first since May 3 — signs that the Sox (23-27) may be coming out of the offensive doldrums that bogged them down these first two months of the season.

By that time, the bad weather had moved out. The last 5 1/2 innings were played in normal conditions.

The Sox even gained a game on the Cleveland Indians, who lost to the Red Sox 4-2.

“It was a great battle,’ Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.

“Carlos had a huge day for us. Those are the games you don’t want to lose after a three-hour delay.”

Quentin is the fifth player in 13 days to hit three homers in a game, joining Carlos Beltran, Jason Giambi, Corey Hart and Jose Bautista.

Peavy’s third start of the season and his first since pitching a three-hit shutout against the Indians on Wednesday was limited to three innings because of a storm that sent spectators moving to field-level aisles indoors. Hail, heavy rain, high winds and the threat of tornadoes halted the game at the middle of the fourth inning with the Sox and Peavy leading 4-2.

Peavy threw 63 pitches, 42 for strikes. He allowed five hits and a walk while striking out two.

Fans in the upper deck at Rangers Ballpark were asked to move to the lower level for precautionary reasons during the early innings, and when the game was delayed, fans on the main concourse were instructed to take shelter in the service aisles on the field level, outside the Sox clubhouse where players were watching the Bulls-Heat game.

After a two hour, 58 minute delay, play resumed at 11:21 p.m.

Somehow, Quentin muscled out two home runs to provide the Sox’ four runs before the rain. His first-inning shot against left-hander Derek Holland was wind-proof, a low liner to left. But his second homer, an opposite-field three-run blast in the third, was remarkable. Quentin hit it an estimated 405 feet not too far from the foul pole, beneath the flags blowing stiff from right toward home plate.

“Impressive,” Guillen said. “You only see home runs like that with Josh Hamilton hitting, or maybe Dunn or Jim Thome.”

Quentin and the struggling Dunn (fifth) had switched places in the lineup, and that move by Guillen proved to be shrewd. It gave Quentin his second multi-homer game and the 12th of his career. With 11 homers this season, he passed Paul Konerko for the team lead. Dunn hit his fifth homer, a 404-foot shot into the top deck in right field, leading off the sixth to give the Sox a 5-4 lead. Brent Morel added an RBI single to make it 6-4.

Mitch Moreland’s RBI single off the wall against Chris Sale in the sixth cut the Sox lead to 6-5. Alex Rios’ RBI double in the seventh made it 7-5.

Peavy, 4-1 with a 1.77 ERA in his previous seven starts going back to last season, was looking to become the second pitcher in Sox history to not walk a batter in his first three starts of the season (John Whitehead did it in 1939), but that endeavor was trashed when Peavy walked the first batter he faced. Ian Kinsler advanced to second on Elvis Andrus’ tap in front of the plate and scored on Josh Hamilton’s single to center.

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