Take some time to glance through a Mark Buehrle game log on Baseball Reference from, well, any season, really. It won't take long to find a game--or several--where he broke the double digits in hits allowed (a category he led the league in a few times) and squeezed out a quality start. And we'd never hesitate to give him credit for it, because he's Mark Buehrle and had been making it work for over a decade.
Jose Quintana has made four starts now, so his ability to work decent outings out of a tidal wave of hits can still be smoke and mirrors. 10 hits is a lot to give up in 5.1 innings, and Ventura rightly had next to no interest in seeing if he could minimize the damage in the 6th.
And yet, he got through 5.1 good innings. He left with the lead. His 2.05 ERA is going to go down (so will his FIP!), and the Sox bullpen held a 2-1 margin into the 8th, when an RBI single from Beckham followed by homers from Dunn and Pierzynski provided breathing room.
White Sox 6, Cardinals 1
Jose Quintana - 5.1 IP, 10 H, ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 76 pitches, 56 strikes - Not necessarily impressive, but impressive how impressive he was able to be without being impressive. In other words, he did a lot with a little.
White Sox bullpen - 3.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K - There's no need to qualify how impressive they were
A.J. Pierzynski - 3 for 4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI - On pace to not just exceed his career-bests in the power categories, but annihilate them
Adam Dunn - 1 for 4, HR, 2 K - Your prototypical Adam Dunn game.
Paul Konerko - 3 for 4 - Managed to improve his batting average to .373
Gordon Beckham - 1 for 4, RBI, BB, K - Saw the most pitches of any batter in the lineup
Orlando Hudson - 1 for 4, 3B, 2 RBI - Hey now! If he does this every once in a while and he might just stick around
After three hits and a run in with one out in the 6th, Robin Ventura swiftly decided that Jose Quintana's luck had run out, and pulled him for Nate Jones--the bullpen leader in innings by a mile--who immediately induced a double play to end the last Cardinal threat of the night.
It preserved a win for Quintana, and made for a rare light workload for Jones, who--once again--was promoted straight from AA and now is the workhorse of the pen.
Things Would Be Different If...
The Sox removed all drama from the affair in the 8th, and with a high degree of difficultly. The Cardinals brought in lefty specialist Marc Rzepczysnki to face Alejandro De Aza and Adam Dunn, and they wound up bloodying him for a double and a homer.
Left-handed power is grand, but if it can thrive in unfavorable match-ups, that's pretty much unstoppable.
Quality pitching has been hard to come by outside of the Chris Sale and Jake Peavy duo, so the Sox will definitely take a white-knuckle outing from Jose Quintana as long as he can continue to keep the ball in the stadium.
The win also further solidifies the Sox standing as the best road team in baseball. Their away record 18-9.
Perhaps the most important reminder given on this night is that the offense is viable, possibly even entering the territory of good. They can really look the part when there's less than two black holes in the lineup.