Quintana consistent, White Sox top A's 5-4
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Having faced Jose Quintana when he was playing for the Detroit Tigers and having caught the left-handed starter several times in spring training, White Sox catcher Alex Avila knew what to expect Tuesday night.
"He's got an easy delivery and easy mechanics," Avila said before making his first start for the Sox. "The ball jumps out of his hand. He has very good command and is normally right around the spot he wants to be. What's made him really good over the years is kind of that easy explosiveness out of his hand and being able to command both sides of the plate."
Taking the mound in the second game of the season Tuesday night against the A's at Oakland Coliseum, Quintana looked a little rusty while pitching 5⅔ innings and allowing 2 runs on 7 hits.
But the offense picked Quintana up for a change, as Todd Frazier's 3-run homer off Oakland starter and former White Sox prospect Chris Bassitt in the fifth inning put the White Sox in front.
It was Frazier's first home run in a Sox uniform. The third baseman hit 35 homers for the Reds last year, the fourth-highest total in the National League.
The A's tied the game at 4-4 with two outs in the eighth on Yonder Alonso's 2-run single off Sox reliever Nate Jones.
In the ninth inning, Jimmy Rollins lifted the White Sto a 5-4 victory with a two-out home run against Sean Doolittle.
Since 2012, Quintana has received just 3.9 runs per start, the second-lowest total in the American League. Never one to complain, Quintana simply takes the ball every fifth game and does his job.
"He's just consistent," Sox manger Robin Ventura said. "I don't think he gets credit for that as far as his temperament, his pitches. He's had that since Day 1. I think his maturity has always been an important thing for him. He's a consistent guy. Coming in, preparation, attitude, any of that stuff that you want to put on him, he has always had it. I think that's what makes him good."
On the defensive:
Jose Abreu is the White Sox' best hitter. He doesn't want to be their worst defensive player.
Abreu said he put him lot of work with third-base coach Joe McEwing and flew bench coach Rick Renteria to improve his play at first base.
"I'm not that kind of first baseman that can make too many mistakes or errors like I did last year," Abreu said through a translator. "I wasn't happy with that. During spring training, I put a lot of effort to try to make adjustments, to try to improve my defense. And I feel pride about my defense. I feel like I help the team to win games, and that's why I work hard during spring training to improve my defense"
Abreu, who made two nice plays in Monday's season opening win over the A's, said his footwork is fine, but he specifically focused on one area.
"Working with (McEwing) and Renteria, they noticed that I have been doing something wrong with some groundballs to my right hand," Abreu said. "They noticed that and then they let me know and then we worked together to fix it."
Jones to close?
After an impressive debut in Monday night's opener, Sox relief pitcher Nate Jones might be in line to lose some games this season if David Robertson needs a break.
Jones, who has a 100-mph fastball, pitched the eighth inning Monday. He was back on the mound in the eighth Tuesday and allowed 2 runs.
"I see Nate being able to do a ninth inning if we need to," manager Robin Ventura said. "He has that kind of stuff if you need to give Robby a day. Nate can do that."
Jones missed the first four months of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery.
"We knew what he was like before he got hurt," Ventura said. "But to have him back and have him able to come in and do that is really important for us. The confidence level of bringing him in being able to throw like that, whether it's righty, lefty, whoever, we're going to rely on him quite a bit."