Danks gets first win after starting 0-8
John Danks was getting sick of seeing a big zero in the win column next to his name.
Paul Konerko homered and Danks pitched into the eighth inning for his first victory of the season, leading the Chicago White Sox to a 3-1 win over the Seattle Mariners on Monday night.
The White Sox beat the Mariners for the ninth straight time at U.S. Cellular Field and are 13-1 at home against Seattle dating to August 18, 2008. The White Sox also matched a club record for the most consecutive home wins against the Mariners.
In his 12th start of the season, Danks (1-8) did not resemble the pitcher that lost his first eight decisions. The left-hander pitched 7 1-3 innings and only allowed one unearned run on seven hits. He struck out six and walked one.
”I would be lying to you if I said it hadn’t been tough. I’ve been doing a lot of beating myself up, not doubting myself, but at the same time, kind of wondering when is it going to turn around,” said Danks. ”I would be lying if I said I didn’t see 0-8 on the scoreboard every time I go out there or on the TV, but it is nice to get the first one out of the way but there is a lot of ground to make up.”
White Sox reliever Jesse Crain struck out Justin Smoak and catcher A.J. Pierzynski threw out Brendan Ryan attempting to steal second in the eighth.
Pierzynski also added an RBI single in the eighth off Mariners reliever David Pauley.
Chicago closer Sergio Santos pitched a perfect ninth for his 11th save in 12 opportunities.
Seattle rookie starter Michael Pineda (6-3) was the hard luck loser. Pineda has pitched seven innings and allowed two runs or fewer in four of his five last starts. He allowed two runs on five hits in seven innings. He struck out three and walked two.
Greg Halman was 3 for 3 for the Mariners and is 7 for 8 since getting called up on Sunday.
Ryan wasn’t going to give all the praise to Danks for the Mariners’ lack of offense.
”I think he felt his changeup and started using that. Kept us off balance throwing the cutter in there. We still have to create and make something happen. You tip your hat, but at the same time, we’ve gotta look at ourselves,” Ryan said. ”It’s getting real old waiting until late in the game to make things happen. I don’t know what the answer is to that, I can only speak for myself. We just can’t wait until late to create.”
The White Sox have won five of its last seven overall.
Konerko hit a leadoff shot off Pineda in the fourth inning. The ball just cleared the left-field wall for his 13th of season.
After getting knocked down by a 95 mph fastball from Pineda, Gordon Beckham came back with an RBI single to give the White Sox a 2-0 lead in the seventh.
”He (Pineda) was real good. Left a couple of breaking balls up but he really had to work that last inning. He was one pitch away from getting out of it but that kid put up a good at-bat against him,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said.
Seattle finally got on the board against Danks in the eighth. Halman led off with an infield single and advanced to second after first baseman Adam Dunn couldn’t glove a pickoff attempt by Danks. After advancing to third on Ichiro Suzuki’s groundout, Halman scored on Brendan Ryan’s single.
The White Sox missed a scoring chance in the first on a baserunning gaffe. With one out and Juan Pierre on first, Carlos Quentin drove the ball to the left-center wall. Halman nearly made a running catch into the wall, but the ball popped out of his glove.
Pierre was unclear if Halman made the catch and was about to retreat to first, until he looked behind him and saw Quentin a few feet behind him at second. After retreating back to second, Pierre was forced to go to third with Quentin closing in and Pierre was easily thrown out at third by Smoak’s relay.
Brent Lillibridge saved a run in the third inning by making a diving catch on Ryan’s ball. Halman, who was running with two outs would’ve easily scored from first.
Danks rebounded from his worst performance of the season. In his last start May 29 at Toronto, Danks gave up nine runs and nine hits – including three homers – over four innings in a 13-4 loss. He became the first White Sox pitcher since Eddie Smith in 1942 to start 0-8.
Pierzynski said the difference with Danks on Monday night was his changeup.
”He finally found his slider and he finally found his changeup. I think this will be a good start for things to come,” Pierzynski said.
Dunn struck out in the eighth with the bases loaded, going 0 for 4, dropping his average to .176.
NOTES: The MRI on RHP Jake Peavy showed a mild right groin strain. He will be evaluated on a daily basis. … The White Sox hired Robin Ventura as special adviser to player development director Buddy Bell. … The last time the White Sox won nine straight at home against the Mariners was May 10, 1994, to May 12, 1995. … The White Sox selected switch-hitting outfielder Keenyn Walker with their first pick of the baseball draft. Walker hit .402 with four home runs and 50 RBIs for Central Arizona. Walker, 20, was picked 47th overall.