John Danks' comeback has gone better than expected, but the long ball has been his Achilles heel. Two more homers tonight gave the Atlanta Braves enough to win this one.
Brian McCann provided the biggest blow, and after plenty of buildup. With two on and two outs in a 2-2 game, McCann made Danks throw 11 pitches, and hammered the last one -- a hanging changeup -- over the wall in right to give the Braves a 5-4 lead. Danks' subsequent F-bomb was a better Jake Peavy impression than Peavy himself.
Adding to the frustration was the way the bottom of the fifth ended. With runners on the corners and one out, Alex Rios bounced a Tim Hudson pitch to short. Andrelton Simmons bobbled it, but recovered with enough time to get Rios by a couple steps.
It seemed like Paul Konerko might've made it a closer play, and this is why:
Rios has been going half-speed out of the box following disappointing contact for weeks, and it finally bit him in the ass. Robin Ventura benched him after the sixth, replacing him with Casper Wells, and the poor effort was the reason why.
The Sox could've used the run. They eventually narrowed the gap to 5-4 in the eighth on an Alexei Ramirez RBI double and a Jeff Keppinger single, but the Braves got one of the runs back in the ninth off Matt Lindstrom. Craig Kimbrel rarely allows one run, so two was a stretch, and he ended up striking out the side to end the game.
It's a shame, because Rios helped the Sox climb out of a 2-0 hole earlier in the game. Danks gave up a two-run shot to Simmons in the top of the third, but the Sox reset the game with two of their own.
Gordon Beckham hit a leadoff single, and when Josh Phegley hit a grounder to second, Beckham was able to get to second in time to take out Dan Uggla and knock his throw off course, preserving an out. The Sox took advantage. Ramirez hit a two-out single, and Rios cashed them both in with a slicing double to the right-center gap. Ramirez beat a good relay home with a nifty slide around McCann's tag to tie it up.
The Sox should've gotten one more run out of the inning, but it wasn't their fault. Adam Dunn smashed a grounder over first base, but Joey Terdoslavich made an incredible diving stop and flip to first to end the inning.
Dunn was involved in another noteworthy play later on, rolling over Terdoslavich's replacement, Freddie Freeman, when his stretch took him onto the line behind the bag. Dunn tried avoiding him by running on the fair side of the bag, figuring Freeman's momentum might carry him into foul territory. Dunn was wrong, and an awkward collision between two big men took place as a result. There were two survivors.