Win and survive.
That's the White Sox's theme for the remaining 23 games this season after a patchwork lineup and the pitching of Javier Vazquez and Bobby Jenks produced a 4-2 victory over the Indians on Wednesday and kept them in first place in the American League Central.
The Sox's task becomes even tougher with the strong possibility that slugger Carlos Quentin probably won't be available until at least next week's Toronto series—and maybe much longer.
"That's our hope," manager Ozzie Guillen said of a return Monday by Quentin, who has 36 homers but has been hampered by a sore right forearm near his wrist.
Quentin left quickly after the game and was unavailable for comment.
The Sox displayed a sampling of the future without Quentin, Joe Crede (lower back stiffness) and A.J. Pierzynski and Jim Thome, each of whom got a break from the lineup.
The biggest development, however, was closer Jenks being used for 12/3 innings. It was Jenks' longest outing to earn a save since Sept. 13, 2005, when he pitched two innings at Kansas City.
"I don't have the guts to do it [more often]," Guillen said. "I did it because we needed it and, besides that, we have a day off [Thursday]."
Jenks said the idea of pitching more than one inning in a save situation was discussed about 10 days ago. He threw only 10 pitches because Ryan Garko and Kelly Shoppach helped him when they grounded into double plays.
"If I can do that in 10 pitches every time, that would be very nice," Jenks said. "Especially this time of year, I'm still really fresh. And if days like this come once a week, I prepare myself more as far as conditioning."
Vazquez (11-12) pitched six innings of two-run ball but was pulled after 108 pitches. He struck out Grady Sizemore on a 12-pitch at-bat in the first.
Even without Quentin, the Sox relied on power. Nick Swisher launched a shot in the fifth to snap a scoreless tie. Alexei Ramirez, batting fifth for the first time, ripped a two-run homer in the sixth to knock out Jeremy Sowers. Ramirez's 16 home runs rank second among AL rookies.
The White Sox lead the majors with 201 home runs, including 116 solo drives.
Among the reserves who contributed, Josh Fields hit a single and was able to stay out of a double play when Toby Hall grounded out on a hit-and-run play that set up Orlando Cabrera's RBI double in the fifth.
Brian Anderson, starting for the first time since July 29, hit a single and played exceptional defense in center.
"Those guys, when the big boys aren't there, this isn't the Instructional League," said Guillen, who was spent mentally after the game and joked about stepping down. "They have to come out and perform. We had a chance to use a couple of guys and they did it. I'm happy with what I saw, but you hope those [other] guys get healthy quicker."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun