Three leftovers from a long and often uneventful evening at U.S. Cellular Field:
The Twins looked like they were en route to a blowout of their own in the first inning, when they scored a run virtually entirely because of poor play by the White Sox — Aaron Hicks walked, stole second, moved to third on a bobbled grounder by Jose Abreu and scored on a passed ball. Then they added another on Trevor Plouffe’s RBI single, and had runners on second and third with one out.
But Jose Quintana threw a third strike past Torii Hunter, then got Eduardo Escobar to fly out on his 33rd pitch of the inning, ending the threat with just two runs. Still, it was hard to picture Quintana lasting longer than a couple more innings. Instead, he went six, turning in a quality start, his 17th in his last 20 starts.
“We had a chance to extend him, but he made some pitches. We got him up there in pitches, we made him work, but we didn’t finish that inning off particularly well,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “You have to say, he did his job minimizing, and then he went on and put up some zeroes the rest of the way.”
He needed 109 pitches to get through five innings, but the White Sox workhorse wasn’t done. “
“I didn’t know if he was going back out there for the sixth — that was pretty impressive, going back out there with 109” pitches, Molitor said. “You have to give the guy credit for going out there and finding a way to get six innings in after probably fifty pitches the first two innings.”
The sixth inning looked like it might be a big one for Chicago, too, and maybe it would have been. But with a man on base and no outs, Geovany Soto hit a sinking line drive into medium left-center field, an all-but-certain hit.
As it fell to the ground, however, Byron Buxton’s glove arrived to meet it, a diving catch that may have been the rookie’s best yet in the majors.
“I shouldn’t say I’m surprised when he makes those plays — it’s just the amount of distance that he can cover and his reads on the ball. It’s a different level than most people you see play the position,” Molitor said in amazement. “He just saves us runs. Je finds a way to get to balls a lot of people don’t. I’m not sure what the TV metrics will show as far as distance covered and time and speed, but when it goes up it doesn’t seem like he has much of a chance. And he just seems to outrun the baseball.”
Tommy Milone was disappointed by his outing Saturday, but it’s not one that’s going to linger, he said. For one thing, his problems keeping the ball down weren’t typical; he thinks that will solve itself. And besides, he had already dominated the White Sox three times this season. At some point, he said, familiarity works against him.
“It goes both ways. You’ve got to adapt, adjust, find different ways to get people out,” he said. “That [seven-run] fourth inning, it just didn’t work.”
For that reason, he said, “it’s going to be easy to discard it. I’m just going to forget about it.”
So will his manager. Just a bad night, Molitor said.
“I’m not going to read too much into it,” Molitor said. “We know he’s had a nice run against this club, but it doesn’t always work out.”