KANSAS CITY -- Jordan Danks hadn't had an at-bat in over a week, but he made the most of a rare trip to the plate Monday afternoon.
With the White Sox needing a win to avoid being swept by Kansas City, Danks' 413-foot solo home run off Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera in the 11th inning gave the White Sox a 2-1 win at Kauffman Stadium. It was Danks' second home run of his career, with the other a walk-off blast against Oakland last summer.
"Being able to pull off a win like that, especially when we’re struggling, it’s big-time," Danks said.
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For Danks, the home run represented a bit of redemption. With the White Sox down 1-0 in the ninth, Alexei Ramirez hit a soft line drive up the middle that was gloved on a hop, then dropped, by Kansas City second baseman Chris Getz. Alex Rios scored the game-tying run, but Danks -- who was pinch-running for Adam Dunn -- put on the brakes rounding third and was caught in a rundown between third and home.
Manager Robin Ventura absolved Danks of any blame for the rundown, although the outfielder still felt his home run was a bit sweeter in light of that play.
"I told them I did it on purpose so I could come up and hit a home run," Danks joked.
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Danks' home run capped a game which began with a pitcher's duel between Chris Sale and James Shields, each team's respective ace. Shields threw eight shutout innings and allowed just two hits with two walks and nine strikeouts, while Sale worked through some early jitters to throw 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball.
Sale looked hittable in the first inning, with Kansas City knocking out three hits and driving two flyouts deep into the outfield.
"Credit to them, they were putting a piece on it," Sale said. "I felt like I was throwing a metal ball to magnet bats there for a little bit."
Sale threw 34 pitches in the first inning, but retired 15 consecutive batters until allowing a seventh-inning double to Salvador Perez. He tied a career high with 119 pitches.
"To be able to get where he was in the game, the way Shields was pitching, they're No. 1 guys going at each other," Ventura said. "It was not easy going for the hitters today, either way."
The Sox nearly gave Sale some run support in the sixth, when Alexei Ramirez drove a fly ball down the left field line. It sailed over the foul pole and was initially ruled a foul ball, and stayed that way after being put under review. Ventura was told the umpires didn't have a clear view of the ball's flight, and had it been ruled a fair ball it would've given the White Sox a 2-1 lead.
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"I'm kinda confused with that. It's not their fault, they want to see it," Ventura said. "But somehow they didn't have a look at it, they didn't have a shot of it, which is why I thought we had (reviews) in place in the first place."
The White Sox overcame that ruling going against them, a one-run deficit and a wasted ninth-inning opportunity to still pull out a win. While winning the series was the desired outcome, the Sox felt good about avoiding a sweep the final contest of a three-game set.
"It means a lot. Any time you can take one -- sweeps are what kill you," Sale said. "Any time we can just take one, just scrap it out, those are the ones that build up at the end."