Danks sizzles in delicious, smoky, slow-cooked KC-style shutout
T’was a game where no one could score to save their lives, a situation in which the Royals cannot hope to match the White Sox level of comfort. The fringe playoff hopefuls suffered a 2-0 defeat as the Chicago winning streak stretched to the garish length of four.
Let’s get the following things out of the way about John Danks‘ excellent performance. First, he’s a fly-ball pitcher suffering from extreme home run problems, and was getting a temporary reprieve in pitching in Kaufman Stadium. It doesn’t completely flip reality, but he probably noticed it.
Also, some dutiful Royals observers had comments about the home team’s lineup.
Yet, John Danks still fashioned himself a groundball maven (13 outs on the dirt), scandalously stole strikes with a looping curveball and weaved through eight shutout innings like some sort of…weaving machine or device. Danks only struck out two, but walked half that amount and had two of the eight times he allowed a man on base undone by Chris Getz, who took off like a Victorian Madwoman on a pedestrian Jamey Carroll looper to center field and was doubled off by Alejandro De Aza in the third, and just flat-out guessed wrong and got picked off to take the air out of a leadoff single in the eighth. Danks didn’t find much difficulty on the night, but when he did, it was quickly defused.
While the run support for Danks was sparse, it was also impeccably prompt. The sixth pitch of the game was a flat slider to Gordon Beckham, who lifted his fourth home run of the year into the left field bullpen. More run support followed in the second inning, but of the distinctly goofyboots-variety.
Paul Konerko ripped another flat slider from Royals starter Earvin Santana down the left field line to lead off the inning, hustled–yes, hustled–for a double, advanced to third on one of Avisail Garcia‘s three hits on the night, and scored when a pitch to Conor Gillaspie eluded Salvador Perez‘s backhand and skipped into the backstop. The ball barreled in between the advertisement sign behind the plate and its framing and was never retrieved, allowing a confused Konerko to stroll in for what wound up being the last run of the night.
Santana struggled through 111 pitches in six innings and loaded the bases with two walks in the fourth, but another bad at-bat from Josh Phegley bailed him out from any truly scarring damage
A leadoff single by Billy Butler off Addison Reed in the ninth also threatened to re-introduce scoring to the proceedings, especially after pinch-runner Jarod Dyson stole second on a throw from Phegley that nearly went to center field, but Reed induced two-straight pop-outs before butchering Justin Maxwell with a slider to end it. Saving that throw from center field and a great recovery on a high hop from an Eric Hosmer grounder in the eighth marked a solid day for Ramirez in the field.
With their fourth-straight win in a row, the White Sox have now eclipsed the 50-win barrier for the 81st season in a row.
We did it!
Team Record: 50-74
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan