Rookies help White Sox beat Blue Jays
CHICAGO -- The search for young talent is in full swing for the Chicago White Sox, who hope to find some answers for 2014 within their own system.
Rookies Marcus Semien and Avisail Garcia have both made good impressions thus far and again helped their cause in Chicago's 3-2 win against the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field -- a makeup game for a June 12 rainout.
Semien made a couple of nice plays at third base and went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, including his first big league home run, which he hit off Toronto starter J.A. Happ in the second inning. Garcia added a solo homer in the fifth to help starter Jose Quintana (9-6) pick up his second victory in a row.
"I was kind of nervous," said Semien, who got the ball back after it landed in the White Sox bullpen. "Whenever you have a first in anything in the big leagues, it's kind of a great feeling."
Garcia has all but locked up a spot in the Sox's outfield for next season, but Semien -- a September call-up from Triple-A Charlotte -- has more work left. He's ticketed for the Arizona Fall League after the major league season, but his performance in 15 games with the White Sox thus far won't hurt his chances.
"I feel good about the way I've been playing," Semien said. "I try not to worry about making a case for myself or anything like that. I'm just focused on helping the team win and I'm just glad we got the win tonight."
Quintana is another young puzzle piece, but he's already locked into the rotation after two seasons in the majors. He picked up the win after giving up just two runs and five hits in 7 1/3 innings. He only walked one and retired nine in a row between the second and fourth innings.
After allowing a solo home run to J.P. Arencibia in the fifth, Quintana retired the side in order in the sixth and seventh while protecting a 3-1 lead.
"I'm very happy with what I've learned," Quintana said, via an interpreter. "I'm ever more (happy) with how healthy my arm is right now. I feel like I've prepared for this."
After Quintana gave up another run in the eighth, making it a one-run game, the Sox bullpen took over. Three relievers combined to escape the eighth without further damage, then Addison Reed bounced back from a blown save in his last outing to close it out in the ninth for his 39th save.
Ryan Goins led the Blue Jays by going 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Happ (4-7) took the loss after giving up three runs on eight hits and three walks in five innings.
The White Sox got out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning against Happ, who needed 39 pitches to get out of the inning. Both runs came on a two-run homer by Semien, who drilled an 0-2 fastball into the White Sox bullpen, just inside the foul pole down the left-field line.
Happ then walked two following a single by Alejandro De Aza to load the bases before getting Paul Konerko to line out softly to center for the third out. Chicago also stranded two baserunners in the first and third innings, allowing Happ to remain in the game.
"I thought his stuff was better than the results and what he probably felt," Toronto manager John Gibbons said of Happ. "I just think that he needed to mix it up a little bit more and get his curveball going a little more. It makes the fastball that much better. He was good (in the first) and then he ran into trouble that one inning and then (gave up) the big home run (to) Garcia.
Arencibia pulled the Blue Jays to within 2-1 with his 21st homer of the season to lead off Toronto's half of the fifth, but Garcia matched it leading off the Sox's half of the inning with his sixth home run to make it 3-1. It turned out to be the game-winning run.
"You don't realize it at the time, but it turned out to be a big home run," Gibbons said.
NOTES: White Sox manager Robin Ventura said he would like to remain in his position for at least next season but didn't want to speculate about a contract extension. "It has to be on both sides," Ventura said. "But that's a discussion for another day. Not today. There's no reason to do it right now." ... Chicago RHP Anthony Rienzo is expected to start next on Thursday at home against the Kansas City Royals, allowing for a blister on his pitching hand more time to heal. ... The Blue Jays will continue their final road trip of the season on Tuesday in Baltimore, where they will start a three-game series against the Orioles. The Blue Jays are 33-45 on the road and haven't had a winning record away from Rogers Center since 2003 (45-36).