The Chicago White Sox often have failed to score enough runs to back solid efforts from Jose Quintana throughout the season.
That hasn't been the case lately, though.
The left-hander looks to help the White Sox avoid a fourth loss in five games in the opener of a three-game series with the visiting Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night.
Quintana (6-9, 3.52 ERA) has allowed two runs or fewer in 13 of his 21 starts, but Chicago scored an average of just 2.63 runs through his first 19.
He's gotten the offensive help necessary to win back-to-back starts, though, pitching his first career shutout in a 6-0 win over Cleveland on July 24 before giving up two runs in 6 1-3 innings of Wednesday's 9-2 victory over Boston.
Quintana has pitched at least into the seventh in four of his last five outings. The White Sox's 14 runs of support over his last two starts are one more than he received in his previous seven combined.
"We're trying to reverse the curse of Quintana," outfielder Adam Eaton said. "It's nice to be able to get some runs for him early and let him settle in and pitch the way he can pitch. It's fun to watch when gets in a groove and starts going with the lead. He's picked us up so many times, kept us in close ballgames."
Quintana allowed three runs - one earned - in 7 1-3 innings of a 4-3 win the last time he faced the Rays on Sept. 19. He'll look to help the White Sox (50-53) bounce back after being routed 12-3 by the New York Yankees on Sunday.
Alexei Ramirez and Geovany Soto hit solo homers for Chicago, which has dropped three of four following a season-high seven-game winning streak.
The White Sox are 3 1/2 games behind Minnesota in a crowded race for the AL's second wild card, with the Rays (52-54) sitting three back. Tampa Bay picked up just its fourth road win in 17 games by beating Boston 4-3 on Sunday.
Asdrubal Cabrera's RBI double tied it in the eighth before James Loney drove him in with a single later in the inning. Brandon Guyer homered leading off the game for the Rays, who were without Steven Souza Jr. after he was hit by a pitch Saturday that fractured his left hand.
Manager Kevin Cash said Souza is expected to miss four to six weeks.
"Obviously not an ideal thing for us or him, because his at-bats are crucial right now," Cash told MLB's official website.
Nathan Karns takes the hill looking to help the Rays win back-to-back road games for the first time since a five-game streak spanning June 7-20. Karns (6-5, 3.37) has allowed two runs or fewer in seven of his last eight starts, a stretch that began when he gave up one run while striking out eight in six innings of Tampa's 2-1 win over the White Sox on June 14.
The right-hander gave up seven runs in a loss to Kansas City on July 9, but he's won both of his starts since after giving up one run in six-plus innings of last Monday's 5-2 win over Detroit.
"I ran into some success through the first six innings, and in the seventh ran into a little trouble," said Karns, who took a one-hit shutout into the seventh before allowing a leadoff homer. "But I felt like things were going smoothly."
Karns' victory in June helped the Rays complete a three-game sweep in the last meeting.
Cabrera is 8 for 19 with a homer and four doubles in five games since coming off the disabled list due to a strained hamstring but is 1 for 16 with five strikeouts versus Quintana.