Jose Quintana has emerged as one of the Chicago White Sox's most reliable pitchers while ranking among baseball's top 15 in innings pitched and quality starts over the last three seasons.
Offensive support hasn't always been there, though.
Thanks to a rainout, Quintana will be well-rested after a solid season debut when he takes the mound Monday against the winless Minnesota Twins in their home opener.
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The 27-year-old Quintana has thrown at least 200 innings in each of the last three years and has 63 quality starts in that span. He hasn't won more than nine games in any of his four seasons, though, with the White Sox (4-2) losing 28 times when he's allowed two earned runs or fewer as a starter in his career.
Quintana allowed two runs and struck out seven in 5 2/3 innings and left with a two-run lead Tuesday at Oakland, but the bullpen surrendered the advantage before Jimmy Rollins' homer in the ninth gave Chicago a 5-4 victory.
"The most important thing here is taking the W," Quintana said. "That's part of the game. It happens sometimes. We won the game, that's most important."
The White Sox have lost four times when Quintana allowed fewer than three earned runs against the Twins. All of those defeats have come over his last nine starts against them, a span during which he's given up two earned runs or fewer and gone at least six innings eight times.
Quintana has a 3.10 ERA in 44 career starts on five days' rest, which he'll get after Chicago's series finale with Cleveland on Sunday was postponed. Adam Eaton wasn't going to play in that contest after being placed on the paternity list following the birth of his first child, but manager Robin Ventura said he expected Eaton to make the trip to Minnesota.
That's good news for the White Sox, who have scored at least four runs in four of their first six with Eaton going 9 for 20 with a double and a triple in five games.
Chicago hasn't had much success against Kyle Gibson, though. The right-hander is 4-0 with a 2.13 ERA in six career starts against the White Sox and scattered five hits over 7 2/3 innings to beat them 7-0 the last time he faced them Sept. 13.
Melky Cabrera is 4 for 10 with two walks over his last three but is hitless in 14 at-bats against Gibson, who hopes another start against Chicago can help him bounce back.
Gibson labored through five innings Wednesday, giving up four runs while walking five and throwing 105 pitches in a 4-2 loss to Baltimore.
"My curveball was just all right and my slider wasn't very good at all," Gibson said. "It was a battle for five innings for really having only two pitches. It's a little frustrating. You never want to start the season like that."
The Twins (0-6) seemed poised to finally break through Sunday when they led Kansas City 3-1 heading into the ninth. The Royals got two in that frame off closer Glen Perkins, though, and won it when pinch-runner Terrance Gore scored on Trevor May's wild pitch in the 10th.
That spoiled fine individual performances, as Eduardo Nunez went 4 for 4, Joe Mauer added three hits and Brian Dozier homered.
"We're going home 0-6 and it stares at you right in the face," manager Paul Molitor said. "You're hoping with the way our season went last year, our spring training, that we'd get off to a better start."
Mauer and Dozier each have homered twice off Quintana with Mauer hitting .345 in their matchups.