Jose Quintana Steps Up With Start Cubs Needed

Quintana pitched seven shutout innings and struck out 11 Pirates in a win.

Chris Emma
April 11, 2019 - 11:11 pm
Cubs left-hander Jose Quintana

Quinn Harris/USA Today Sports

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CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- Left-hander Jose Quintana gave the Cubs a breath of cool April air.

His team in need of a strong outing on the mound and a victory for the standings, Quintana threw seven shutout innings and struck out 11 Pirates in the Cubs' 2-0 victory Thursday night at Wrigley Field.

It was by far the Cubs' best pitching performance of the two-week-old season and also provided them their first series victory of the season. 

"That was dominant," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Quintana's performance. "Strike throwing. Strikeouts. Everything was working -- changuep, curveball, fastball, elevated fastball, fastball in. He was outstanding. And we needed that."

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Quintana agreed with that assessment.

"I felt great," Quintana said. "My stuff was really good at the beginning. I felt my arm pretty alive. My offspeed was great all night. I just tried to attack early."

The Cubs entered Thursday with an egregious 6.43 team ERA through 11 games, including a 6.52 ERA from the rotation. Every starter but ace Jon Lester had an ERA above 5.00, and Quintana entered 0-1 with a 10.29 ERA after allowing eight earned runs over seven innings.

Thursday showcased Quintana at his best, as he worked comfortably in a rhythm for 99 pitches (64 for strikes) and held the Pirates to only four hits and one walk. He became the first Cubs starter in these dozen games to pitch into the seventh inning.

With the rain beginning to fall in the seventh inning of a scoreless game, Daniel Descalso drove in Jason Heyward with an RBI single to left field, then Victor Caratini scored him on a double to right-center field. The Cubs got scoreless innings from relievers Steve Cishek and Pedro Strop -- who earned the team's first save of the season -- to close out what Quintana started.

All the Cubs needed from Quintana was the chance to win -- something they haven't gotten enough from their starters. He gave that and more in a needed victory.

"Good win for us," Quintana said. "We took our first series. (Friday), we start another one and just keep going -- start winning games."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.​