CHICAGO -- Jose Quintana wasn't at his sharpest from the outset, but still had more than enough to shut down the Twins over seven innings during a 3-1 White Sox victory Sunday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field.
The White Sox completed their second sweep of Minnesota this season, improving to 6-0 against the last-place team in the American League Central. They also finished the homestand with a 4-2 record.
"I tried to get the series, all three games," Quintana said. "I think I started a little slow, I missed a lot of pitches but I tried to get the outs. It was more good after that. I feel better commanding."
Quintana allowed multiple baserunners in three of the first four innings, but he gave up only one run in the second on Jorge Polanco's ground out. The southpaw struck out five and walked one, throwing 66 of his 104 pitches for strikes.
"There were a lot of great plays today. Austin [Jackson] had some nice plays," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Guys that can pitch like Jose, you're going to get help. It can only help you."
Tyler Duffey suffered the loss, yielding three runs in seven innings. He struck out a career-high nine, including four in the seventh, when Avisail Garcia reached on a wild pitch, but was touched up for run-scoring doubles from Austin Jackson in the fifth and Dioner Navarro in the seventh, with Garcia scoring both runs.
"We're kind of at a point where we are looking for some encouraging points to what we're doing," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "For Duff to step up and give us seven innings, it was solid and certainly gave a lot of guys some relief out there in the bullpen."
The White Sox improved to 22-10, marking the AL's best record, and moved 12 games over .500 for the first time since they were 81-69 on Sept. 21, 2012. The Twins have lost five in a row and dropped to 8-23.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Garcia stays hot: Garcia extended his hitting streak to nine games with a single leading off the third, followed by a one-out double in the fifth and a go-ahead run scored on Jackson's double. Garcia has raised his average from .135 to .256 during this run, battling through a hamstring injury during the stretch. More >
Running Rosario: Runs weren't easy to come by against Quintana, but the Twins got one in the third thanks to good baserunning from Eddie Rosario, who reached with a single with one out. Eduardo Nunez followed with a single to left field, and Rosario read it well off the bat and was able to go first to third. He later scored on Polanco's ground out, and that baserunning was in sharp contrast to when Polanco got doubled up off second on a low line drive to center in the first inning. Rosario also saved a run with a diving catch on a shallow Adam Eaton line drive in the fifth.
"Lineup was a little thin today, and we couldn't find ways to do much," Molitor said. "Like we've been talking about all week, things get magnified when you're struggling."
Action Jackson: Jackson's average has moved up to .225 after a slow start, but he could hit .150 and still be infinitely valuable with his defense. The center fielder helped Quintana get out of a first-and-second, nobody-out situation in the first by catching MIguel Sano's line drive and doubling off Nunez at second. He then made a spectacular running catch to take away extra bases from Oswaldo Arcia leading off the ninth, helping David Robertson pick up his 10th save.
"We've been doing a really good job of communicating out there," Jackson said. "That's the key to us being able to getting to a lot balls in the gap, cutting off balls, keeping guys at first base -- just being able to talk to each other and make sure we're on the same page and in the proper position when we're out there."
"I was excited. It was a great catch," Robertson said. "I didn't think he was going to catch it. I wasn't even sure if it was going to stay in the park."
Four-strikeout inning: Duffey did a lot of good things for the Twins on Sunday. He helped save an exhausted bullpen by going seven innings, making him the first Twins starter to go at least six innings since he went 6 1/3 innings in his last start against the Tigers. He also became the first Twins pitcher since Francisco Liriano in 2012 to strike out four batters in an inning. Duffey did it in the seventh, when he struck out Brett Lawrie, Garcia, Jackson and Jimmy Rollins. Garcia reached base when a strike-three curveball went into the dirt for a wild pitch and scored in the inning on Navarro's double. It gave the White Sox an insurance run, but also allowed Duffey to accomplish a rare feat.
"That's great, but when you give up more runs than the other guy it doesn't really matter," Duffey said. More >
"Well, I wasn't mad about it. I was definitely glad he caught it." -- Robertson, on his celebratory mound reaction to Jackson's great catch in the ninth
The White Sox have won six straight games against the Twins for the first time since Sept. 23, 2005, to April 23, 2006. They have outscored Minnesota, 30-9, this season and allowed 30 hits overall.
TRAINERS VISIT PLOUFFE
Molitor and a Twins trainer tended to Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe after his swinging strike three to end the top of the first. Plouffe has been battling a pain in his side that he says tends to flare up on swings and misses. A right intercostal strain put Plouffe on the disabled list earlier this season, but he was activated Tuesday. Molitor said Plouffe has insisted he is fine to play, but he will likely be evaluated Monday.
"There are a few times where I'll feel it throughout the day," Plouffe said. "It's not an issue. Nothing that inhibits me or anything like that."
TRAINERS VISIT QUINTANA
White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider and Ventura came to the mound to talk with Quintana in the seventh. The left-hander was dealing with cramps in his pitching hand, but was able to finish the inning.
WHAT'S NEXT Twins: Right-hander Jose Berrios will make his third career start to begin a three-game series against the Orioles on Monday at 7:10 p.m. CT at Target Field. Berrios earned his first career win last Monday against the Astros.
White Sox: Miguel Gonzalez makes his second start with the White Sox and moves into the fifth starter's spot, at least temporarily, as the team begins a six-game road trip Monday night in Texas at 7:05 p.m. CT. Gonzalez allowed five runs over 5 1/3 innings during his only other start for the White Sox in a no-decision at Toronto on April 25.