White Sox pitcher John Danks hoped for a cold start in the White Sox home opener, but he was hoping for the weather to be cold, not his pitching. Danks pitching in what could be his final home opener in White Sox uniform, gave up six earned runs in five innings in a 7-1 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Friday.
With a new jumbotron in center field and a team coming off winning three of four games against the Oakland Athletics, the White Sox were unable to sustain a lead in this game as they were down 3-0 after the top of the first inning. Danks struggled early in front of 38,019 at U.S. Cellular Field, and he didn’t get much help from catcher Alex Avila. The veteran catcher made a throwing error after a dribbler in front of home plate by Carlos Santana led Avila to grab the ball and attempt a throw back to Danks, but after watching Francisco Lindor score he tried to throw Santana out at first but threw the ball down the right field line.
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Danks gave up a sacrifice fly to catcher Yan Gomes to extend the Sox early deficit to 3-0. The Indians were able to add two more runs in the top of the second inning with a RBI triple by Rajai Davis and sacrifice fly by Jason Kipnis. While the Indians offense took advantage of Danks early, the White Sox offense could only muster three hits throughout the entire game. Todd Frazier had two of the White Sox three hits, including his second home run of the season in the bottom of the fourth inning.
After giving up five runs in two innings, Danks was able to settle down momentarily as he retired 10 consecutive Indians hitters. However, the Indians were able to get back on track in the top of the top of the fifth inning with a RBI single by Santana and a RBI double by Gomes. Danks was pulled after the fifth inning and the Sox bullpen was able pitch scoreless baseball throughout the remainder of the game.
The White Sox bats outside of Frazier remained silent in the home opener as Indians pitcher Danny Salazer struck out seven batters in 5 1/3 innings pitched. The White Sox didn’t present any scoring chances and never got into any rhythm offensively. The team’s best chance to perhaps do damage came in the bottom of the second inning with Melky Cabrera and Avisail Garcia on base thanks to walks from Salazar. Garcia was well off the first base bag when Gomes caught him napping after a Brett Lawrie swing and miss on the first pitch, and nabbed him for a pickoff.
Garcia hasn’t gotten off to a strong start and his mental error in Friday’s game could cost him some playing time over the next few games. Playing as the team’s designated hitter, Garcia went 0-for-2 with one walk and a strikeout. The only player outside of Frazier with a hit was outfielder Austin Jackson. Adam Eaton ended his streak of consecutive games with at least two hits and Jose Abreu went 0-for-3 with a strikeout.