As expected, the White Sox split a doubleheader with the Royals, during which they started Jeff Samardzija and John Danks.
Of course, they lost the game started by Samardzija, and then shut out Kansas City in the game started by Danks, just like Abner drew it up.
Tonight's game is set up for a John Danks victory that frustrates people who 1) want the Sox to sell, and 2) want Danks out of the rotation.— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) July 17, 2015
The Sox grunted out a victory in classic 2015 fashion, picking up a win despite scoring just two runs, and only one of them under their own power. However it happened, it was more than enough for Danks and three relievers, who combined for a four-hitter.
Danks did receive the benefit of an early lead. With two outs in the second inning, Avisail Garcia split the right-center gap and legged out a triple, and Tyler Flowers cashed him in with a single over the head of a leaping
Mike Moustakas Dusty Coleman for a 1-0 lead.
The Sox offense needed help with the second run in the sixth inning. Melky Cabrera led off with a double, made possible by a tremendous evasive slide at second base. He moved up by tagging on Jose Abreu's deep flyout to center, but appeared stalled when Adam LaRoche hit a harmless bouncer to Eric Hosmer on the first pitch for the second out.
Up came Garcia, who hit two lasers in two at-bats off Edinson Volquez. After a mound conference, Volquez chose to pitch super-carefully to Garcia. That plan backfired, as he bounced a curve in the dirt and into the seats for some classic #WILDPITCHOFFENSE, stretching the Sox lead to 2-0.
That'd be all for the Sox offense, which made baseball look painful every other inning. The leadoff hitter reached in the third, fourth and fifth innings, and the Sox didn't score. They had the bases loaded with one out in the seventh ... and they didn't score then, either. This is not a offense of a contender, even if the Sox have won 10 of their last 14..
But for yet another night, the pitching provided the hope. Danks dealt with traffic all night long, scattering four hits and four walks over his six-plus innings, but not one Royal made it even as far as third base (Danks helped out his own cause with a pickoff).
Moreover, Robin Ventura didn't press his luck. When Danks started the seventh with a walk to Alex Rios, Ventura went to the bullpen, even though Danks had thrown only 96 pitches. And after Jake Petricka retired the only batter he faced on one pitch, Ventura again made a call to the bullpen, this time getting Zach Duke to face Moustakas. Duke stranded the runner with a pair of groundouts, then handled the eighth by himself for good measure.
David Robertson pitched a clean ninth, with some help from Flowers, who caught a key 2-1 pitch against Omar Infante to set up a flyout, then infuriated Rios by catching a low strike three to end it.
*Rios had a wacky doubleheader. He homered in the first game and drew two walks tonight, but he also dropped two shallow fly balls and closed it out by yelling at home plate umpire Jordan Banker. The first of those drops counted as an error, and the second one should have.
*Instead, the official scorer smiled favorably upon Gordon Beckham, who is now 2-for-32 and batting .196, instead of 1-for-32 and batting .190. Ventura put him in the second spot for some reason.
*Tyler Saladino started his fifth game in as many chances, this time at short. He went 1-for-2 with a sac bunt, made the plays, and was also caught stealing.
*About that bullpen effort:
White Sox bullpen has now thrown 19 1/3 straight scoreless innings since July 5. Split today's doubleheader. Sit at 42-46.— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) July 18, 2015
*The Sox optioned Frankie Montas to Birmingham after the game. We didn't get to see his cheese.
Record: 42-46 | Box score | Play-by-play | Highlights