White Sox opened winning gateway in St. Louis

Pair of wins over Cardinals initiated turnaround

White Sox opened winning gateway in St. Louis

BOSTON -- It all began in St. Louis on June 30, and most of the White Sox didn't even know their turnaround had started.

The White Sox entered Busch Stadium with a 32-42 record, preparing for a two-game series against the team with Major League Baseball's best record. And all the White Sox did was claim the first game in 11 innings and watch Jose Quintana outlast the Cardinals and the rain the next day.

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"Those were important games for us," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "The extra-inning game, the game it rained with two or three starts, Q was in, he ends up getting a win. We all know what's happening with Q as far as the no-decisions, so for him to actually get that win was a big boost not only for him but the guys. They felt good about getting him the win."

Smooth sailing has not followed completely for the White Sox. They lost their last game before the All-Star break to the Cubs and then started the second half with a 1-5 run against the Royals and the Cardinals. But these were matchups against three teams with playoff possibilities, and games especially against the Royals and the Cardinals where the outcome could have changed with one or two breaks.

Since those two losses at home to the Cardinals, the White Sox have played their best baseball of the season. Since that first game in St. Louis, the White Sox hold a 17-8 record entering Thursday's series finale at Fenway Park.

"We played OK against [the Cardinals at home]. We had some chances to win some games that we didn't, but as far as playing in those games, we played well enough to win," Ventura said. "You get a hit here or there or one that falls in, you probably win a couple of those games.

"They're the two best teams in baseball. So for us to hang in there and do it without the offense we've seen in the last week, it's something they took some value in in the way they played."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.