The Chicago White Sox are used to some chilly nights in early April as they get the season started. Friday night, in their series opener with the Seattle Mariners, two hurlers who made their marks a season ago saw their fortunes turn, at least for one frigid evening.
With temps barely above freezing to start the game, Chicago battled throughout before dropping a 8-7 decision that took 10 innings to finish. Jose Quintana started this game, and reliever Nate Jones was on the mound for the White Sox for the final frame.
Both players had promising rookie campaigns for the South Siders in 2012. Quintana was a big reason the White Sox stayed in contention despite numerous injuries to the rotation. Jones was 8-0 with a 2.39 ERA last year.
Each player played a big part in the loss Friday.
Quintana gave up a home run to Franklin Gutierrez to start the game, rallied for the next four innings, then surrendered five runs to open the top of the fifth. That included his error while covering first on a grounder to Paul Konerko, which definitely exacerbated things.
The White Sox stormed back in the bottom half of the inning with four runs and tied the game in the seventh to send the game to extra innings. Jones, who had set down the Mariners in order in the ninth, gave up a leadoff single to Gutierrez. This would lead to him giving up three more hits as well as two runs. Chicago got to within a run in its last raps but came up short with the bases loaded when Tyler Flowers went down on strikes.
Jones, who walked the only batter he faced in the 2013 opener against Kansas City, picked up his first major league loss in 67 appearances. In case you were wondering, Gutierrez going 3-for-5 with three RBI was also a major factor in the Mariners picking up their third win of the season.
You have to like the way the White Sox battled on a night that saw them fall behind three times. The entire AL Central is tied with 2-2 records. It's too early to bemoan losing ground, and Chicago gets a chance to even the score in some sunshine Saturday afternoon.
Until the meltdown in the fifth, I also was happy to see Quintana try to get back on track after the way the game began. No need to throw up any red flags, but Chicago is going to need both of these pitchers to shake off that cold April night.