February 19, 2013; Glendale, AZ, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher John Danks (50) poses for a picture during photo day at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

John Danks just knows how to win


After this long stretch of discontent and disillusionment with the White Sox way, where every part of the aging core and organizational decision-making process has been cast in an unflattering light, it’s only right that an old friend would come back to shake away the South Side misery for a day.

Behind eight brilliant innings from the surgically restored John Danks–he retired the last 21 batters he faced–the White Sox took their first victory over Oakland on the season in six tries, with a 4-1 triumph powered by a three-run eighth inning.

In the bottom of the eighth with the score tied 1-1, Danks was in his traditional position of having a brilliant outing go unsupported. Oakland starter Tommy Milone had been pulled after seven strong innings where he racked up 118 pitches, and the top of the White Sox order finally found it in them to jump all over lefty reliever Sean Doolittle.

Alejandro De Aza tapped a nubber to Jed Lowrie at second base and despite looking out live and on replay, was rewarded with an infield single and became the all-important leadoff runner for the second time on the day. After everyone watched Alexei Ramirez bunt him over to second through their fingers, De Aza raced around to score on a Alex Rios single to Josh Reddick in right field. Despite the cannon Oakland has set up in their right field defense, Joe McEwing went with the aggressive send in a situation where guessing right likely meant a victory and was rewarded when Reddick’s throw was five feet up the third base line.

To make the bold move immediately irrelevant, Paul Konerko turned on the very next pitch and flipped it just over the left field bullpen to give the Sox a 4-1 cushion.

It was an openly joyful conclusion to a day that had been spent growing cautiously more thrilled by the success a still-recovering a John Danks was having, and a gnawing anxiety that he wouldn’t find any aid from his teammates.

Danks’ outing began unremarkably. He was greeted in the first inning with a walk and a single, punished for a run by a Josh Donaldson RBI single that De Aza misplayed and only escaped a disastrous inning thanks to a double play. A Nate Frieman single led off the second inning as well, at which point Danks stopped allowing baserunners. Not a single A’s hitter reached base until Coco Crisp singled off Addison Reed in the ninth.

Showing the best version of his changeup and mixing in his fringey curveball seemingly with a purpose, Danks struck out six and only walked the one over eight innings, and kept the ball down to the tune of 10 groundball outs. Even his exit from the game after 96 pitches in favor of closer Reed seemed like a reflex of the caution that all of his previous outings this season merited.

An Adam Dunn solo blast to lead off the second inning served as the White Sox only tally off Tommy Milone on the day. Milone and his changeup were their typical destructive themselves against the eager White Sox lineup, allowing only five baserunners over seven innings along with seven strikeouts.

 

Team Record: 26-34

Box Score

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Tags: Adam Dunn Chicago White Sox John Danks