Quintana struggles as White Sox drop finale

Quintana struggles as White Sox drop finale

Quintana struggles as White Sox drop finale
BALTIMORE -- Through the first eight batters of the game, the pitches danced exactly the way Jose Quintana wanted them to, causing Baltimore's batters to hit weak grounders and lazy fly balls, seemingly setting the White Sox rookie left-hander up for a solid outing.

But just as fast, the magic left Quintana's hand, and he paid the price.

Quintana gave up an opposite-field home run to Taylor Teagarden, an .086 hitter and the ninth man in the Orioles' lineup, with two outs in the third inning, and his outing unraveled from there as Baltimore knocked him out after just 3 2/3 innings in a 5-3 loss on Thursday afternoon at Camden Yards.

"You know, it's really hard to say how I went from feeling good starting off to it really going quick," Quintana said through an interpreter. "The only thing I can say is that I was leaving pitches down the middle and balls were getting away from me."

Thursday's brief outing tied the shortest start of the season for Quintana (5-3), who was ejected for throwing behind a batter after 3 2/3 innings on May 30 at Tampa Bay.

On Thursday, Baltimore's bats did the damage. After Teagarden's homer, the Orioles followed with four solidly struck extra-base hits, including Adam Jones' 26th home run of the season, a two-run shot that put the White Sox in a 4-1 hole.

"I was trying to throw him a low changeup, but it stayed in the zone," Quintana said of Jones' blast. "He just hit it."

Quintana allowed a line-drive single to Nate McLouth to open the fourth inning, then retired the next two batters to put him on the verge of escaping the frame. But Teagarden hammered a ball to deep center to give Baltimore a 5-1 advantage, and after Quintana walked Nick Markakis, manager Robin Ventura had seen enough, pulling his young starter.

"They got to him that [third] inning," Ventura said. "Everything was up and kind of the same speed, really. They can hit. They got him."

The White Sox gave Quintana a second-inning lead, although they could have had more. Alexei Ramirez singled to center with A.J. Pierzynski on second, but Jones threw a strike home to nail Pierzynski, who didn't slide on the play. Later in the inning, Gordon Beckham's RBI single scored Dayan Viciedo to put Chicago up 1-0.

Aside from that inning, the White Sox could not solve Baltimore starter Zach Britton (4-1), who struck out a career-high 10 and retired 18 of the 20 batters he faced after the second inning.

"Teagarden was reading the bats really well today," Britton said of his catcher. "He went to the slider when he saw that it was a good pitch to go to. They swung at it. He did a good job of recognizing it."

Chicago's left-handed hitters were 0-for-11 with seven strikeouts against Britton. The first four batters in the lineup went a combined 2-for-16.

"He threw a lot of sinkers, but I'll be honest with you, anyone could have pitched the ball to me today," said Pierzynski, who is now 0-for-17 over his last six games. "He was just throwing sinkers in and he had a pretty good breaking ball. He had a good day. You look up and before you know it, it was the eighth inning and we had [six] hits."

Jose Lopez had two hits in his White Sox debut, and Ramirez added three, including a two-run single in the ninth off Orioles closer Jim Johnson to make things interesting. Ramirez is now hitting .329 with 34 RBIs over his last 65 games.

After Quintana's short stint, Chicago received admirable relief help from Nate Jones, Hector Santiago and Donnie Veal, who combined for 4 1/3 innings of one-hit ball with seven strikeouts.

"They're out there for a reason," Ventura said. "They're Major League arms. Even though they are young, they are still able to go out there and get us innings."

The White Sox dropped three of four to the Orioles and now travel to Detroit for a critical three-game series, beginning Friday.

"There's nothing that will be won or lost this weekend," first baseman Paul Konerko said. "Hopefully we go there and play well and the results are good. That's all you can hope for -- is just to play your game.

"This team has been pretty resilient all year, through the ups and downs, and it's a long way to go. These last 30 days, there's going to be momentum shifts back and forth, good and bad, and you just have to try to stay the course as best you can."

Elliott Smith is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.