The Chicago White Sox have an opportunity to reclaim the AL Central lead despite struggling most of June.
Having Jose Quintana on the mound could increase their chances.The impressive rookie tries to help the White Sox to their first series win since early this month when they face the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field.Chicago won a season-high nine straight from May 23-June 1, with the last victory coming in the opener of the a three-game set against Seattle in which it took two of three.The White Sox (37-34) haven't won a series since and are 8-12 this month following Saturday's 8-6 victory over Milwaukee.Dayan Viciedo went 3 for 4 with a two-run homer and four RBIs. Chicago had 14 hits after being held to three in a 1-0, 10-inning defeat in the series opener."It's a confidence boost for the offense," manager Robin Ventura said. "You can sit there and hang your head and not do anything about it, but they have the ability to take it day by day and not let yesterday affect today."Viciedo entered the contest hitting .132 in June."It's been a really tough month, but as far as that affecting my confidence it's just one of those things you got to keep going at it, keep practicing, and it will turn around," Viciedo said.The White Sox, who are one-half game behind Cleveland in the Central, hope to stay on track with the surprising Quintana taking the mound in the finale.Quintana (2-1, 1.53 ERA) continued his stellar run as a starter after needing only 77 pitches to toss eight shutout innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, but Ventura removed him prior to the ninth with a 1-0 lead.Closer Addison Reed, who notched his ninth save Saturday, proceeded to give up the tying run and Chicago would lose 2-1 in 10 innings."It's one of those things that happens," Ventura said. "Q pitched great, but right there I wanted to go to the closer."Though denied the victory, Quintana had another excellent outing in his fifth major league start. The left-hander hasn't allowed more than two runs and has struck out 17 with four walks in his starts.He'll be opposed by another rookie hoping to make his mark in Milwaukee's starting rotation.Michael Fiers (2-2, 3.46) made four starts before pitching a scoreless ninth inning of relief in Milwaukee's 8-3 win over Toronto on Wednesday. With Shaun Marcum going to the disabled list, Fiers will be back in the starting rotation for now.The right-hander allowed one run and four hits in seven innings of a 6-2 win at Minnesota on June 16, earning his first victory since beating the Dodgers in his season debut May 29.Both of those wins came on the road, where the Brewers had won three of four prior to Saturday's loss.Milwaukee (33-38) still has won five of eight overall despite the defeat. Norichika Aoki went 3 for 4 with four stolen bases Saturday, becoming the first Brewer to accomplish the feat since Scott Podsednik on Sept. 18, 2004."I think that's a big part of my game, being aggressive on the bases and going after the next base," Aoki said.Chicago has won nine of 11 meetings dating back to 2000.