CHICAGO -- Jose Quintana's scoreless-innings streak came to an end during the White Sox 4-1 victory over the Red Sox on Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field. But the southpaw still was impressive enough to pick up his fourth win against one loss by yielding the lone run over eight innings.
"We've been talking about this kid for a while," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Record-wise, everybody has looked at his no-decisions. He's just been outstanding. He shows a lot of heart, he has always had it, and this is a great lineup that he went through. He's up there with anybody in the league. To do that tonight, coming back home against pretty much the best offense in the American League right now. He continues to impress."
Quintana extended his scoreless streak to 20 innings before Hanley Ramirez launched an opposite-field homer with one out in the fifth. Quintana otherwise held the Red Sox in check, allowing four hits and striking out five. Ten of Quintana's last 11 starts have been quality, and he did not give up a walk for the third time this season.
"I feel really good from the first moment of the season, and I try to do my job and try to get wins," Quintana said. "Early in the season, you really want to be coming to the ballpark and see your teammates excited for getting wins. You try to put a little bit extra motivation and try to do everything."
The White Sox scored one in the first off of knuckleballer Steven Wright, when Jose Abreu tripled home Jimmy Rollins. They added a second run in the third without getting a hit, taking advantage of three walks. Wright has made five starts this season and all have been quality, giving up two runs or fewer every time out.
"He's done everything we could've asked to get deep into games and low-run situations," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "And not just this year, this goes back to when he was in the rotation last year. He's doing an outstanding job. Honestly, as consistent as he's been, he's been a stabilizer in our rotation. He's doing everything in his control to maintain a spot in that rotation."
Tuesday's start to a six-game homestand marked the third straight win for the White Sox and raised their record to 19-8 and their AL Central lead to four games. It's their biggest division lead since June 19, 2008, also a four-game lead.
"We feel good. It's fun to win," said White Sox closer David Robertson, who picked up his ninth save in 10 chances. "We're having a good time with it, and hopefully it continues."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED De-Fense! Quintana was perfect through three innings Tuesday, partially because the defense was equally as impervious. Austin Jackson took away extra bases from David Ortiz leading off the second with a leaping catch at the center-field wall. Abreu made a slick play on Ramirez's grounder and beat him to the bag in the ensuing at-bat, and Adam Eaton ended the third with a leaping catch against Jackie Bradley Jr.
"It's really good, when you take good outs when the defense makes good plays," said Quintana, who threw 101 pitches over a season-high eight innings. "I think next time, I'll try to make a better quality pitch, because that won't happen every time. But that's good ... really good defense."
Hanley ends homer drought: It was a good sign for the Red Sox when Ramirez clubbed snapped a homerless drought of 93 at-bats dating back to April 6. Both of Ramirez's home runs this season have been to right. The club isn't necessarily looking for Ramirez to be a power hitter. They did, after all, instruct him to regain athleticism this season. But if he can go deep on occasion, it forces teams to be more careful with Ortiz.
"He's had some really good swings [lately]," Farrell said of Ramirez. "He's started to hit the ball with more consistent authority, much like we would anticipate with Hanley. He looks pretty comfortable, seeing the ball well at the plate right now."
Abreu stays hot: Abreu's stretch of multihit efforts extended to five straight, courtesy of a two-run double in the eighth. He extended his hitting streak to seven straight with a run-scoring triple in the first. Abreu has 10 RBIs in his last 10 games. More >
Smith strong in debut: Farrell didn't waste any time getting reliever Carson Smith into the mix. On the same day he was activated, Smith pitched a perfect seventh inning, getting two groundouts and a strikeout while throwing just nine pitches. The righty is coming off a flexor mass strain in his right elbow suffered on March 21. Smith could become a key member of the bullpen, enabling Farrell to give Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel more rest when needed.
"I felt good," Smith said. "Went out there, got a quick out, which was nice, and after that settled in, and it felt good to be out there again." More >
"I'm very happy that he's with me, because the way he's pitching right now, he's probably one of the best in the league." -- Abreu, on Quintana
"You can't just put your finger on one thing, it's good pitching, it's defense, it's timely hitting. It's everything you need, all the small things in a game that makes your games go good and make it easy to win ballgames." -- Robertson
NO LOVE FOR THE LONG BALL
Quintana had not allowed a homer since Mike Moustakas hit one in the sixth inning last Sept. 30. He has allowed just 21 homers over his last 54 starts (347 2/3 innings).
In the bottom of the eighth, a wild pitch by Tazawa went all the way to the backstop, and Eaton was able to advance two bases, sliding into third ahead of the throw by Ryan Hanigan. Farrell challenged the call, but it was confirmed.
Later in the inning, Farrell had better luck when there was a crew-chief review on what was originally ruled an infield hit by Melky Cabrera. The review showed that the throw from Travis Shaw was gloved by Ramirez before Cabrera's foot contacted the base, and the call was overturned.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
In a bit of an oddity, the Red Sox have faced just three lefty starters in the first 26 games of the season. They are 0-3. Chris Young, who was signed by the club to start against lefties, is having a hard time, in particular, getting into the rhythm of the season. The right-handed hitter went 0-for-3 against Quintana and is hitting .167 with one RBI. The Red Sox are 0-7 when Young starts. He will likely get another chance on Wednesday, when lefty Carlos Rodon goes for the White Sox.
RUNS ARE GOOD
The White Sox improved to 15-0 when scoring four or more runs. They are 15-2 when scoring first.
WHAT'S NEXT Red Sox: Right-hander Clay Buchholz hopes to recover from his shaky start to the season (0-3, 6.51 ERA) when the takes the ball for Wednesday's 8:10 p.m. ET game against the White Sox. At U.S. Cellular Field, Buchholz is 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA in four starts.
White Sox: Rodon moves up to Wednesday night's start with John Danks now gone from the team, and Erik Johnson getting the call in Thursday's series finale. Rodon has 27 strikeouts over 27 innings this season and will make his first career start against the Red Sox.