Quintana, Sox handle Astros for series win

Quintana, Sox handle Astros for series win

HOUSTON -- Jose Quintana and the White Sox defense held the Astros' often-potent offense down and never let them up, allowing only three hits in a 4-1 win Sunday afternoon at Minute Maid Park. Quintana threw seven innings and retired his final 15 batters faced to help the lefty snap his seven-game losing streak and give Chicago the series win.

"This was as locked in as he's been in a while," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "It was nice to see, and we end up getting enough runs for him. I thought he was right on."

The White Sox scored twice in the third against Astros starter Collin McHugh to take a 2-1 lead, and Houston squandered a chance in the bottom of the inning when it put runners at first and second with no outs and couldn't advance them. The only hits the Astros managed against Quintana were a leadoff homer by George Springer in the first and a double by Jason Castro in the third.

Abreu's RBI single

"It's unfortunate," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We were in a position to win yesterday's game. We're close today until they pulled out away. You gotta give credit to what they did: They outhit us this series."

Hinch on White Sox series

The win is the second straight for Chicago (42-40), which took Saturday's game, 7-6, and the second straight loss for Houston (43-39). It snaps a five-series winning streak for the Astros and marks the first time they've lost back-to-back home games since May 21-22. The White Sox have won four straight series.

"We are a very good team," said White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu through interpreter Billy Russo. "We have been working for this, and it's just a matter of believing in ourselves. The results are there. We are winning games. We are winning series, and that's important. It's just a matter of believe in ourselves, and we believe in ourselves right now."

The Great Escape: The first two runners reached base against Quintana to open the third, leaving him to protect a one-run lead against Marwin Gonzalez, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. And Quintana did just that with a strikeout and two flyouts to center. That inning began the run of 15 straight retired.

Quintana's solid outing

"I try to get the first out and keep the runners on base," Quintana said. "I try to keep the opportunity to take the ground ball for a double play. I got a strikeout, and that's a tough lineup for us. I was trying to throw a good pitch and keep that ball down, and it worked." More >

Not enough meat: The meat of the order for the Astros, specifically Altuve and Correa, couldn't get much of anything going. The duo, which has combined for 100 RBIs and 27 home runs this season, went a combined 0-for-8 at the plate and was unable to bring a runner home with two on and one out in the bottom of the third.

"It's important [for us to get hits]," Correa said. "We're hitting in the middle of the order, and when both of us go 0-fer, we're not gonna have a very good chance at winning the game. Obviously, we gotta be able to do a better job tomorrow in order to give us a chance to win." More >

Be aggressive: When Alex Avila opened the eighth with a single off of reliever Chris Devenski, the White Sox forced the issue to increase the lead. Pinch-runner Tyler Saladino swiped second and then scored on Brett Lawrie's single to center, challenging Carlos Gomez's throw home. Lawrie took second on the throw and then easily came home on a Dioner Navarro single.

Navarro's RBI single

Hinch tossed: Hinch was ejected in the seventh inning after complaining about a ball thrown behind Astros designated hitter Evan Gattis. Devenski hit Abreu with a pitch in the top of the seventh, and then Quintana threw a pitch behind Gattis in the bottom half of the inning, which led to the benches being warned. Hinch was ejected soon after.

Abreu reaches after HBP

"They take a shot at Gattis, they miss," Hinch said. "They take a second shot at Gattis? They don't get two free shots at your players. ... For them to allow Quintana, who's been perfect the entire game … to take two shots at Evan Gattis, it's unfair." More >

Hinch gets ejected in the 7th

"I don't know if anybody else saw it, but it was very clearly intentional. If you want to protect your player, you get one shot. You go in there and you execute it and you execute it safely, but you don't throw at a guy twice. You don't throw at him, miss him twice and then get to stay in the game. I was pretty disappointed with that way that turned out." -- McHugh, on the Quintana throws to Gattis

"He hit my baby." (laughs) "It's OK, it's OK. That's baseball." -- Abreu, through interpreter Russo, on getting hit in the left triceps by a Devenski pitch just below a tattoo of his son

Astros closer Will Harris set a team record by not allowing an extra-base hit in 35 consecutive games, breaking Dave Smith's old mark of 34 set during the 1986-87 seasons.

White Sox: James Shields gets the call to start Chicago's final first-half homestand against the Yankees, with a 1:10 p.m. CT first pitch at U.S. Cellular Field on Monday. Shields is coming off easily his best start as a member of the White Sox, allowing one run on eight hits over 6 2/3 innings.

Astros: Lance McCullers takes the mound in the series opener against the Mariners at 1:10 p.m. CT from Minute Maid Park on Monday. It will be McCullers' first action in almost two weeks after missing his last scheduled start due to a blistered right index finger.

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Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Jordan Ray is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.