CHICAGO -- All of Monday's talk before the White Sox 8-1 victory over the Yankees at U.S. Cellular Field dealt with Alex Rodriguez, from early in the morning right up to the 7:10 p.m. CT first pitch.
Some of the game's focus naturally fell upon Rodriguez, who finished 1-for-4 while playing through an appeal of a 211-game ban as a result of Major League Baseball's Biogenesis investigation. But while the 27,948 in attendance booed Rodriguez's every move, from his first run on the field to get loose to the final called third strike taken from Matt Lindstrom in the eighth, the White Sox (41-69) quietly put together one of their best games of an otherwise forgettable season.
Maybe the attention placed upon Rodriguez and the Yankees (57-54) took the bright lights away from the White Sox 10-game losing streak entering the start of this 10-game homestand.
"I would say we are probably the only team in the league that could have benefited from this," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of the Rodriguez sideshow.
"It was all around good baseball, and Q [Jose Quintana] threw a great game. That's winning baseball," White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham said. "We just have to try to do that as many times as we possibly can the last two months."
Thanks to 14 hits and seven walks issued by four Yankees pitchers, a team that had scored four runs in its last 40 innings pushed across seven runs in the first three innings. Andy Pettitte (7-9) didn't get hit hard, but he did get hit often, allowing those seven runs on 11 hits over 2 2/3 innings.
Alexei Ramirez, Jeff Keppinger, Alex Rios and Beckham finished with multi-hit efforts, topped by four hits from the White Sox shortstop and leadoff man to equal his career high. Every White Sox position player reached base at least once, except for Dayan Viciedo, who departed in the bottom of the first due to a jammed left thumb he suffered by diving for a Robinson Cano single in the top of the inning. X-rays were negative and Viciedo is listed as day to day.
Quintana, who became a free agent and left the Yankees in November 2011, improved to 6-3 for his current team that picked him up one month later. The southpaw gave up just one run over 6 2/3 innings, striking out five and walking one. The White Sox provided six runs of support over Quintana's last four starts combined, with Quintana's 14 no-decisions leading the Majors, but the offense topped that total by two Monday.
"We were due to play a game like this. It's been a while since we have swung the bats so well," said Rios, who drove in four over his first three at-bats. "It's one of those days where everything goes good for you. People are having good at-bats and good swings on balls."
"That was nice today to get good run support," said Quintana through translator and White Sox coach Lino Diaz. "I tried to think the game was 0-0."
Twelve of the 14 White Sox hits were singles, with Keppinger and Ramirez chipping in one double apiece. Unlike the previous 10 games, one hit morphed into a second hit and then even a third.
"To be able to play a game like this and win the way we did, it's refreshing," Rios said. "It's been tough."
"Guys are swinging, they are taking ball four," Ventura said. "It was just a good night offensively."
How long had it been since the White Sox won a game?
Jake Peavy was the last White Sox pitcher to get a victory on July 25, and he just picked up a victory for Boston on Saturday. The White Sox were 15 games out of first place in the American League Central 10 days ago, and now they sit 24 back of the Tigers.
For one night, the White Sox played like a team much closer to the division top spot with help from the Rodriguez effect.
"There's no other way I can say it: it's frustrating," Pettitte said. "We're trying to win series and for me to go out there and to give up three in the first and just not be able to get through the game with us struggling [Sunday] as far as a starter not going deep, it's just so disappointing."
"You're facing their ace [Chris Sale on Tuesday]," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's a bad way, but we gotta win a game [Tuesday] and we've got to start playing better, there's no doubt about it."
As for the venomous booing of the Yankees' third baseman, White Sox players featured the same general postgame reaction as they did pregame.
They stayed away from the topic.
"Chicago fans have booed before and so have New York fans," Beckham said. "It's not out of the question for anybody. It is what it is."
"You expect [the boos]," said Rios of the Rodriguez reaction. "You're going to expect that from the crowd."