CHICAGO (AP)—Carlos Quentin doesn’t want the attention. The way he’s playing, he can’t avoid it.
“Why talk about that?” Quentin wondered.
He preferred to talk about Jose Contreras, who had another fine outing.
“That’s the story of the night,” Quentin said.
He wanted to talk about a 4-2 homestand: “Awesome. Winning record.”
But those homers? His emergence? Quentin seemed rather uninterested, although he did say he’d never hit a game-ending homer.
He had a two-run shot in the third and ended the game by driving a 1-1 pitch from Lackey (1-1) to the seats in left-center.
“I was trying to throw a two seamer, trying to run it down and in a little bit,” Lackey said. “I just didn’t get it in.”
Quentin quickly rounded the bases, tossing his helmet as he passed third, and got mobbed at the plate as the White Sox ended the homestand with their ninth win in 11 games after scoring just one run through the first two of this series. Moments later, he got a pie in the face from Jermaine Dye while being interviewed.
The homer made a winner of Scott Linebrink (2-0), who pitched a perfect ninth after Contreras threw eight strong innings.
The multihomer game was Quentin’s second this season and the third in his career. His 14 homers lead the American League, he had three of the White Sox’s six hits and he’s batting .301 after being limited by injuries last year with Arizona.
“This kid, the way I look at it, he proved me wrong,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I didn’t even know who he was when we traded for him, but (general manager Kenny Williams) told me if this kid’s healthy, he’s going to help you win games.”
While Quentin came through at the plate, Contreras continued to pitch the way he did in 2006 when he made the All-Star team. He allowed just two runs and three hits, including a two-run homer by Gary Matthews Jr., while striking out 10 and walking none. It was his fourth double-digit strikeout game and his first since June 17, 2006, when he had 13 in six innings against Cincinnati on June 17, 2006.
Lackey, meanwhile, struck out three and walked one.
A 19-game winner last season, he is easing any concerns about his arm after beginning the season on the disabled list with a strained right triceps. Lackey allowed one run in seven innings in each of his first two starts against the White Sox and Toronto, and he was good again on Sunday.
The only glitches were to Quentin, who had a grand slam at Los Angeles on May 13.
He drove a 1-0 pitch out to center with two out in the third to make it 2-0, after Alexei Ramirez led off with a single.
Contreras couldn’t hold it after allowing one run in each of his previous three starts. He left a belt-high pitch to Matthews over the middle of the plate after Maicer Izturis led off the fourth with a single, resulting in a two-run homer that tied it. Contreras did not allow another runner until Garret Anderson led off the seventh with a double off the heel of Quentin’s glove.
Meanwhile, a White Sox team that entered the game with the American League’s second-worst average (.244) provided little support. Perhaps that explains why fans in left-center decided to volley two blowup dolls like beach balls in the eighth inning, only three weeks after the White Sox caused an uproar in Toronto by placing two nude blowup dolls in the clubhouse with bats of the players fanning out around them in a weird slump-busting ritual.
Quentin is doing just fine, though.
“I’d never even heard of him,” Hunter said. “He’s definitely doing what he’s capable of doing. He’s got tremendous pop. We call it crazy pop. That’s what he has.”
Quentin got his American League-leading eighth hit by pitch when Lackey plunked him in the left arm in the first inning. … Guillen said he expects 1B Paul Konerko to be back in the lineup at Cleveland on Monday or Tuesday after holding him out for the third straight game because of an injured right hand. … The Angels’ Chone Figgins missed his fourth straight game because of a sore right hamstring, and OF Vladimir Guerrero got the night off.