Most days, or nights, 3 runs on 5 hits aren't going to get the White Sox where they need to go -- out on the field in single-file formation to celebrate a win.
But after absorbing 4 straight losses and taking a 7-12 record into Wednesday afternoon's game against the Indians at U.S. Cellular Field, the Sox really weren't crunching the numbers.
White Sox scouting reportWhite Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays at U.S. Cellular Field
TV: Comcast SportsNet-Plus Thursday; WCIU Friday; Comcast SportsNet Saturday; WGN Sunday
Radio: WSCR 670-AM
Pitching matchups: The Sox' Chris Sale (1-2) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (1-1) Thursday at 7:10 p.m.; Jake Peavy (2-1) vs. Roberto Hernandez (1-3) Friday at 7:10 p.m.; Gavin Floyd (0-3) vs. Matt Moore (4-0) Saturday at 6:10 p.m.; Dylan Axelrod (0-1) vs. David Price (0-2) Sunday at 1:10 p.m.
At a glance: The White Sox swept a three-game series at Tampa Bay last May, but were stung by the Rays at home in late September with 3 losses in four games. Sale had 15 strikeouts in a May 28 game at Tampa, the second-highest game total in Sox history. As usual, Evan Longoria is sparking the Rays' offense. Heading into Thursday night's game vs. the Yankees, Longoria had reached base in all 20 games this season and was leading Tampa Bay in batting average (.282), home runs (5) and OPS (.879).
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-- Scot Gregor
Instead, they were just enjoying a 3-2 decision over Cleveland for what it was: much-needed relief.
"I'm happy about the victory, that's the most important thing," White Sox starter Jose Quintana said through an interpreter. "We needed to get that win. It's a start. We need to keep it going through the next games."
Getting the bats going remains a priority, especially considering five regulars in Wednesday's starting lineup are batting .234 or lower.
But if they can avoid extended losing streaks until the offense heats up, the Sox feel good about their chances.
"It's not an easy thing to do when you play games this close all year, but you have to battle through these things," right fielder Alex Rios said. "It's a long season and we're going to go through stretches like this. Hopefully not too many."
For the most part, the White Sox' pitching staff has held up its end during the season's first month, and Quintana (2-0) was sharp through the first 5 innings before coming unglued in the sixth.
After Rios' 2-run homer off Indians starter Zach McAllister put the Sox in front 3-0 in the fifth inning, Quintana walked Drew Stubbs leading off the sixth and gave up a single to Michael Brantley. The Sox' left-hander was gone after allowing an RBI single to Jason Kipnis.
"Up until that sixth inning, he just looked strong and he gets stronger as he goes along," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "We get a couple in the half inning before and that walk (to Stubbs) is not something that's normal for him, and then all of the sudden they start hitting it around. But you get guys back in their normal roles in the bullpen, so it's one of those games where it's like kind of how you'd see it."
Nate Jones relieved Quintana with runners on the corners and no outs in the sixth and served up a sacrifice fly to Mark Reynolds.
But after that, Jones, Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain and Addison Reed held down Cleveland the rest of the way.
"Every game out there, as soon as the bullpen comes in, that's what we want to do," Jones said. "We want to throw strikes the best we can and try to put up zeros, for sure."
New No. 2 hitter Jeff Keppinger continued to emerge from his season-long slump with 2 hits and an RBI, but he's still batting .188.
Leadoff man Alejandro De Aza is hitting .234, Adam Dunn's at an even .100 and a 3-for-15 homestand has dropped Paul Konerko's average to .232.
Fortunately, Rios (.297) is picking up where he left off last season, and his decisive home run off McAllister (1-3) held up.
"You want to be in that situation," Rios said after hitting his sixth homer of the year. "You want the team to do well and what we're supposed to do. It's a matter of time to get linked, for all of us to get linked and start doing what we know how to do like last year. We're going to be fine."