Jose Quintana gets tutorial on Mariners from Chris Sale
BY SETH GRUEN Staff Reporter July 5, 2014 11:06PM
Center fielder Adam Eaton watches a ground-rule double by Brad Miller bounce into the stands. It drove in Michael Saunders with the go-ahead run in the 14th inning. | Getty Images
Updated: July 6, 2014 2:32AM
Sox starter Jose Quintana retired the first 11 hitters Saturday, so he knew he had good stuff.
Quintana threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings in a 3-2, 14-inning loss to the Seattle Mariners. He allowed four hits, walked one and struck out 10, which matched his season high and was one short of the left-hander’s career high.
“I throw my pitches in the count, throw both sides, getting ahead in the count — it [becomes] more important inning by inning,” Quintana said. “I keep going with that. It’s the best thing for long games for me.”
Quintana was the beneficiary of a complete game by fellow lefty Chris Sale on Friday. Sale gave Quintana a blueprint for how to attack the Mariners’ lineup.
“I pay attention a lot when he throws against [the same] lineup,” Quintana said. “They were aggressive, swinging on the first pitch a lot. I tried to get ahead in the count with everybody in the lineup. It’s working.”
The Sox had the lead. All their relievers had to do was close the show.
Quintana had thrown a gem, and the hitters had done enough to win. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they did much at all.
In 14 innings, the Sox managed only four hits. Mariners ace Felix Hernandez was pulled after eight innings, giving the lineup little excuse for mustering one hit over the next six frames.
“We didn’t do much all day in terms of an offense, so [the bullpen had] to try to shut it down as best they could,” second baseman Gordon Beckham said. “We’re going to have games like this. It’s frustrating, but we have to keep battling.”
Asked about the possibility of getting Paul Konerko more at-bats, manager Robin Ventura gave a roundabout answer. In the end, he said, “It could happen.”
In 17 games since June, Konerko is hitting .333 with three homers and seven RBI. He homered Friday night to move past Andre Dawson into 42nd on the all-time list. Those numbers could warrant Konerko seeing more time as the designated hitter.
“That’s always on the table for him,” Ventura said. “We’re kind of sticking with that plan [of playing him sporadically]. We did it earlier when [first baseman Jose] Abreu was on the DL, and there’s been other spots where he’s got in there against lefties more often. You want to put him in a spot where he’s comfortable and he know’s what he’s doing. Yeah, it could happen, absolutely.”
Konerko has made 27 starts, nine at first base. He went hitless in two at-bats Saturday.