Quintana, three Garcias lead White Sox past Royals
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After demoting outfielder Jacob May to Class AAA Charlotte, the White Sox filled the void on the 25-man roster Tuesday by recalling outfielder Willy Garcia and lined up their three Garcias in the outfield behind left-hander Jose Quintana.
Quintana hasn’t had much backing throughout his career, but this particular support group worked to his liking. Willy, the left fielder, drove in a run his first time up; Leury, the center fielder, drove in one in his third at-bat; and Avisail, returning after taking a day off with a sore groin, reached base his first three times up with two singles and a walk.
Avisail also drove in a run and scored two as the Sox (14-11) stopped a two-game skid with a 6-0 victory at Kauffman Stadium.
Quintana was dominant, throwing eight innings of four-hit, scoreless ball. He struck out seven, walked two and lowered his ERA from 5.22 to 4.10.
“He attacked the strike zone,’’ manager Rick Renteria said. “His breaking ball and his off-speed pitches worked effectively. He ran the ladder with a couple of hitters. He had a nice plan.’’
Willy Garcia played in two games in the Minnesota series from April 14-16 while Melky Cabrera was on the paternity list, going 2-for-7 with a double. The game on April 14 was the first time three players with the same surname started together. Willy returned to Charlotte when Cabrera returned and came back after May failed miserably at the plate.
“That was kind of cool; it was special for us,’’ Willy said.
Quintana (2-4), the Sox’ ace who, after three shaky starts to start the season (6.75 ERA with four homers allowed), has strung together three quality starts, is once again resembling the pitcher whose consistency has made him special.
What a rare treat having two runs on the board in the second and third innings against Royals ace Danny Duffy (2-2).
“It’s good; it’s amazing,’’ Quintana said. “When you’ve got that support early . . . I just keep doing my job and focus like the game is close, zero-zero, and get some quick outs.’’
Quintana said he has tried to attack the strike zone early with more verve in his last two starts.
“That’s it,’’ he said. “Try to get ahead . . . hit the corners. And that has worked.’’
What wasn’t working was May’s first month in the majors. He produced only two hits after earning the Opening Day starting job in center field. His exit has solidified Leury Garcia’s hold in center with Willy Garcia, a right fielder for most of his minor-league career, figuring to be the second option there.
“That’s a position where I feel comfortable,’’ Willy said. “I played center field in the minors, in the winter league.’’
Besides the Garcias’ run-producing, the Sox got two singles, a sacrifice fly and two RBI from catcher Geovany Soto and three hits, including a double, and an RBI from second baseman Yolmer Sanchez.
All of which was more than plenty the way Quintana was breezing through the Royals, who came in batting .214 and are easily last in baseball with 69 runs.
“Sometimes when you get a lot of runs early, it makes you relax,’’ said Quintana, who entered the game with a run-support average of 3.87, the second-lowest among pitchers in the majors since 2012. “You try to get aggressive and throw the ball wherever the catcher calls and keep going. Don’t pay attention to the score and just try to get your outs.”
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