Tonight was a special night. The White Sox got a strong start from their starter, a healthy mix of singles, a timely home run, and avoided making a single error. The result? A rare victory.
Danks cruised except for a rough patch in the 3rd inning. After striking out Nolan Reimold, Brian Roberts would immediately blast an 89mph meatball into the seats to give Baltimore a 1-0 lead. Danks would surrender two straight singles following the homer, but would not allow them to advance.
Danks has continued his injury comeback, posting a strong start against a good Orioles lineup. (Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports)
The White Sox offense, however, had been silent, and then squandered a rally in rather pathetic fashion – Viciedo and Flowers were uncompetitive in their at bats. It looked like just another one of those listless losses to which we have become so accustomed. But lo! At the end of the 4th, Jake Peavy entered the booth and Hawk described him as “Dennis the Menace the 2nd.” Peavy was energetic and charming, which brought a little bit of life into the experience, and it even seemed to change the course of the game. The positive energy leaked onto the field – after all, correlation is causation, right?
Danks had an absurdly easy top of the 4th and 5th. Then Conor Gillaspie would work a good long at bat into a walk, which Dayan Viciedo and Gordon Beckham would follow with sharply grounded singles to tie the game up at 1. Although the rally sputtered when Flowers was once again completely dominated in his at bat and struck out on a fastball down the middle, the White Sox were back in the game.
Indeed, Gillaspie would reach base for a 3rd time in his next at bat – he would trot around them when he hit his sixth home run of the year. The White Sox would pile on even further in the seventh, using a de Aza HBP, an Alexei single, a Rios ground out, and a Dunn blast to go ahead 5-1.
Danks has continued his post-injury trend of limiting his walks and throwing tons of change ups. Other than the home runs it seems to be oddly effective. He was efficient, throwing in the low 90s, and had both his change and curveball working to give 7 strong innings on only 93 pitches. He would leave in the 8th after allowing a leadoff single to Markakis. Nate Jones came in and walked Manny Machado, and you could feel the anxiety building. But tonight was a good night. A double play defused the tension significantly, and although Markakis would score on an Adam Jones single up the middle, Thornton would come on to retire Babe Ruth 2.0 (Chris Davis) to end the threat.
White Sox 5, Orioles 2.
Team Record: 33-47
Gordon Beckham went 3 for 4 with three singles – all sharp grounders.
Paul Konerko was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts – he may still be hampered by his back, or simply stiff and rusty after the time off.
Alexei Ramirez moved to 19 of 23 on stolen base attempts for the year.
In Viciedo’s first at bat, Hammel threw 5 straight 4-seam fastballs right down the middle. He didn’t even pretend like he was doing anything else. No deception, no trying to paint the corners – just trying to blow away him away as quickly and easily as possible. It worked. Viciedo fouled back a few and then went down swinging. It was rather painful to watch.
Flowers was 0 for 4 at the plate with two strikeouts, and it looked just as bad as it sounds.