On a night where Homer Bailey threw a no-hitter, fans at U.S. Cellular Field witnessed a pretty rare occurrence themselves: a comfortable White Sox winner with John Danks pitching.
Sure, the 2013 version of "comfortable" still allowed Addison Reed to pick up a save at the end of it, but the tying run never came to the plate after Adam Dunn's titanic two-run blast in the seventh and the five-game losing streak is over, so that will have to do.
Danks pitched seven strong innings against Baltimore's extra-base factory -- the only damage on his watch came in the form of a Brian Roberts solo shot in the third inning. Otherwise, he worked quickly, his defense worked behind him, and even though it took the offense a while to get going, he did a nice job of not letting the ballgame put him up against the ropes.
For once, his offense came around.
Conor Gillaspie did a lot of the lifting early. In the fourth, he drew a one-out walk, moved to second on Dayan Viciedo's single, and scored on Beckham's grounder through the left side to tie the game.
Two innings later, he turned on a high Jason Hammel fastball and drilled it into the Bullpen Sports Bar to give the Sox a 2-1 lead.
Danks held the line until reinforcements showed up in the seventh. With one out, Hammel bounced a pitch into Alejandro De Aza. De Aza went to third on a hit-and-run with Alexei Ramirez, and Ramirez took second with a risky steal while Alex Rios was at the plate.
That took the double play out of order, which turned out to be big when Rios hit a chopper to third. De Aza got a good break on it, and Manny Machado decided not to throw home. Ramirez was counting on that throw, so he was almost tagged out when Machado decided to hold it. Ramirez turned a dumb baserunning play into an OK one when he extended a rundown long enough to let Rios take second.
Not that the speed mattered. On a 2-2 count, Dunn crushed a high Hammel fastball deep into the seats in right, eliciting one of the most emphatic Hawk Harrelson home run calls this year:
"That ball WAAAAAAY back! He dud'n even MOVE! The GREEK DOES NOT EVEN MOOOooooove! And it is a FIVE ONE leeEEEEAAAAD!"
Nate Jones made it mildly interesting in the eighth. He inherited a runner at first, then walked Machado after getting ahead 1-2. He got a double play to take some of the pressure off, but Adam Jones' single up the middle cut the lead to three. Nevertheless, he still managed to bring AL home run leader Chris Davis to the plate with the tying run on deck, but
he Matt Thornton managed to retire Davis when Rios ran down his smashed liner to right to end the inning.
Reed then proceeded to nail down his 22nd save on his third try. He allowed only a two-out single.
- The game was over in two hours and 23 minutes, making it the fastest White Sox victory this season.
- Beckham and Gillaspie each reached base three times.