CHICAGO -- When the Detroit Tigers visited the White Sox a couple of weeks ago, manager Jim Leyland raved about the South Siders' overall talent and basically was at a loss for words as to why the team wasn't considered by pundits as an American League Central contender.
Cleveland manager Manny Acta shared the same sentiment following Friday's 9-3 loss to the White Sox, pointing out there's more to this division than his squad and the highly-touted Tigers.
"We're not ignoring them. We know they have a very good team," said Acta of the second-place White Sox. "The three years that I've been in this division, I feel like they have the deepest pitching staff -- probably the best pitching staff overall.
"Pitching is a big part of the game. They do have a very good ballclub. Our division is balanced. I have never taken them for granted. They have the team to win, just like the rest of the division."
The rest of the division might be a bit of a stretch by Acta, with the Twins and Royals not looking to be viable contenders. But the White Sox have pushed their way into that picture, at least through 47 games.
Ask Robin Ventura about the praise from other managers and he smiles and takes it all in. But he isn't worried about the thought process anywhere outside of the White Sox clubhouse.
"It doesn't matter. It really doesn't matter," said Ventura, when made aware Saturday of Acta's compliment. "I mean, we respect everybody in our league. We are focused more on what we are doing. Guys pay attention, but you still have to continue to keep that focus there."
Quintana's victory broadcast live in Colombia
CHICAGO -- The first Major League victory for Jose Quintana was viewed on television by more than just Chicago fans or baseball fans across the United States.
Friday's contest was actually broadcast live back in Colombia, Quintana's native country, where his family had the chance to watch him in action.
"It's big for my country," said Quintana, through translator and White Sox director of cultural relations Jackson Miranda. "There aren't that many Colombian players.
"So, it's something that when one of us is playing in a game, people gather around different bars and they watch the game. They televise the games down there for us so it's actually kind of a big story."
Quintana joins talented Angels reliever Ernesto Frieri and Marlins infielder Donovan Solano as the only three current active Colombians in Major League Baseball. Prior to both Major League call-ups for Quintana, numerous Colombian media outlets were tweeting his White Sox arrival before it was officially announced.
That thorough press coverage gives some indication of the pride taken in its players by Colombia, where Edgar Renteria and Orlando Cabrera stand as the most accomplished hometown heroes. Quintana feels the same pride back toward Colombia.
"I have a lot of pride," Quintana said. "I want to put my country on the map. So, by me being able to do this every time, not only myself but even the other Colombians, it's a great feeling."
Colombian broadcasts figure to be working overtime again Wednesday afternoon, when manager Robin Ventura strongly indicated that Quintana would get a second start after allowing just two runs over six innings against Cleveland. Quintana is filling in for John Danks while he's on the 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder strain, and his success brings greater popularity to baseball back home.
"There are about five cities all on the coastal sides where baseball is really big," said Quintana, who is from Arjona, Colombia. "One of the cities is where I'm from. They play baseball all the time. They keep up with it, and it's big there."
Pierzynski experiencing power surge
CHICAGO -- It has taken A.J. Pierzynski just 41 games this season to reach eight home runs, which was his total for all of the 2011 campaign. While Pierzynski is not known as a classic power hitter with 136 career long balls, he has kept himself in prime shape and followed an intense work ethic to continue producing at age 35 and with 10 straight years of at least 1,000 innings caught behind him.
"He's always working out and focused on being in shape," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Pierzynski, who is hitting .444 with three homers, 11 RBIs and 10 runs scored in his last 11 games. "I don't know. There's a certain bit of longevity to him that's been there. He's been a workhorse for a long time. He's put in a lot of innings but continues to stay on top of being ready.
"Yeah, he's got more power than you just initially look at and see. He's a big guy and he's just been getting in a good position to hit. If he hits it, it's going to go. So, sometimes that just happens. I don't know if there's a reason for it, but he looks good at the plate and he has been consistent, too."
Pierzynski feels as good swinging the bat as he looks, a fact also noticed by the opposition.
"I'm a little bit more relaxed, but other than that, I'm just trying to have as much fun and not think about anything, really," Pierzynski said. "I have a good feeling that we found kind of in Spring Training and I'm just trying to stick with it."
"Hey, he's been a good hitter in this league for years," said Cleveland manager Manny Acta of Pierzynski. "He's been pretty consistent throughout his years and this year he's been hitting pretty good against us."
Ventura likes what he sees defensively
CHICAGO -- The White Sox are tied for second in the American League with a team fielding percentage of .988. But manager Robin Ventura doesn't need to look at statistics to come to the realization that his team has a solid defense.
"It's what I see. It's what I see," Ventura said. "As a staff, we look at it.
"If you think someone is not pulling their weight, effort-wise, you pull them aside and you talk to them. It's a team game, so if guys aren't out there working on it and doing it in the field and showing that kind of effort, that's the first thing you notice.
"You better have good defense if you are going to have good pitching," Ventura said. "It helps out both sides. As many runs as you can stop them from having, it's easier on pitchers."
Third to first
• Bob Saget, of Full House and Entourage television fame, performed the National Anthem prior to Saturday's contest.
• The White Sox are hitting .353 with 16 home runs and 57 runs over their last seven home games following Saturday's 14-7 victory over the Indians. The White Sox finished with 17 hits in the game.
• White Sox pitchers own a 5.40 ERA over the current five-game homestand. The White Sox have won four of those five games.