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Jose Quintana’s gem goes to waste as White Sox fall in 10 innings

Sox rookie left-hander Jose Quintanpitched eight scoreless innings allowed five hits struck out six Dodgers Sunday. | Gus Ruelas~AP

Sox rookie left-hander Jose Quintana pitched eight scoreless innings, allowed five hits and struck out six Dodgers on Sunday. | Gus Ruelas~AP

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Updated: July 19, 2012 6:23AM

LOS ANGELES — The winds of change wafting through the White Sox’ starting rotation are an unwanted, unsettling thing for a team that’s seemingly well-positioned to be playing meaningful games in September.

Thank goodness for Jose Quintana.

Before the Colombian rookie left-hander threw eight scoreless innings in the Sox’ heartbreaking 2-1 loss in 10 innings Sunday at Dodger Stadium, the team was juggling its rotation around to account for John Danks’ worrisome shoulder and Gavin Floyd’s and Philip Humber’s troublesome slumps.

Danks, the Opening Day starter who signed a big contract extension during the offseason, will visit the team doctor Monday for MRIs and an evaluation of a shoulder that’s not getting better.

Floyd and Humber are trying to pitch their way out of extended slumps, although Humber took a baby step by getting a five-inning win (four runs allowed) on Saturday night. And Zach Stewart will come out of the bullpen to start Monday night against the Cubs and give the Sox’ best starters — Chris Sale and Jake Peavy — an extra day or two of needed rest.

“We’re doing what’s best for everybody,’’ pitching coach Don Cooper said. “This benefits those guys, too. It gives them an extra day.’’

When nobody was giving his team much of a chance, general manager Ken Williams promised fans at SoxFest that the team would win if it hit. Well, Adam Dunn is leading the majors in homers, Paul Konerko is leading in batting average and A.J. Pierzynski is having an All-Star first half. Alex Rios could make a case, too.

But the Sox are now wondering about their pitching for all sorts of reasons. Danks’ shoulder is the biggest worry, and while Quintana has been better than Danks has been in a long time, the Sox still need Floyd and Humber to be better.

At least they’re healthy. That’s another reason why Stewart steps in.

“It gives all of our starting pitchers extra days, and so we’re taking care of them as well as making sure we’re covered,’’ Cooper said.

“Everybody’s feeling good [besides Danks], and we want to continue that.’’

“Even with Jake, to give him an extra day here and there, it’s worked out lately for [Sale and Peavy],’’ said manager Robin Ventura, who mentioned Quintana’s expected load of starts in the future in explaining his decision to remove him after 77 pitches. “We’d like to keep that going.’’

“Never hurts getting a couple of extra days, I guess,” Sale said, adding that the elbow that caused him to miss one start feels fine.

“Going through a program, some days obviously are worse than others, but that’s just sports, I guess.’’

Sale leaned over near his locker in the visitors’ clubhouse and knocked on a wood bench.

“So far, so good,’’ he said.

The same can be said for Quintana, although it’s more like, “so far, so great.”

Quintana allowed five hits and no walks and struck out six. He has an ERA of 1.53 over 351/3 innings.

“He’s pitched well against some really good teams, so it’s not a fluke,’’ Ventura said. “For some people who think he’s going through because nobody’s seen him … he’s had some good teams, and he’s done well.’’

“He located pretty much everything,” catcher Tyler Flowers said. “We used all the pitches. He got burned on a changeup Juan Uribe hit.

‘‘He hit my glove, and if he missed, it was in a good spot off the plate where they couldn’t hurt us. That’s what he’s done every time out.’’

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