Danks dominates as White Sox top Royals

Danks dominates as White Sox top Royals
August 20, 2013, 10:45 pm
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- From a physical standpoint, John Danks has felt as good as can be since he returned to the majors earlier this season.

But that other pleasant feeling, the one you can only experience in victory, has proven elusive for Danks, who had shoulder surgery only 54 weeks ago.

On Tuesday night Danks rediscovered the sweet sensation when he earned his first win since July 2. The left-hander delivered a season-best eight scoreless innings and the White Sox defeated the Kansas City Royals 2-0 at Kauffman Stadium. Danks improved to 3-10 and lowered his ERA from 4.70 to 4.22.

“It's fun to talk to you guys after a win,” Danks said. “It has been a while. I caught a couple breaks, I was able to throw the ball over the plate and we scored enough.”

[More: White Sox not out to play spoiler vs. Royals]

Danks may have caught a break here or there, but he made his own luck against Kansas City.

He threw strikes on 71 of 100 pitches and kept up with his season-long trend of good control, issuing only one walk. White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Danks, who has averaged a career-best 1.7 walks per nine this season, had excellent command.

“A lot of guys were swinging early, but he was throwing strikes,” Ventura said. “Today was probably the best command he's had all year long, just continually throwing strikes with all his pitches. So it was just a good result. For him to go eight against a lineup that's been tough on us has been pretty good.”

Key to the victory were a pair of early double plays, Danks said.

He retired Billy Butler on a 6-4-3 double play to end the first inning.

Then with a hit-and-run-play on in the third, Alejandro De Aza raced in to take a hit away from Jamey Carroll and easily doubled Chris Getz off first.

[More: Ventura plans to keep hitting Ramirez third]

From there, Danks cruised.

He settled in to retire 15 of the last 18 batters he faced to maintain the early 2-0 lead the White Sox gave him.

Gordon Beckham, who homered in the first to put the White Sox ahead 1-0, said Danks has begun to look more like the pitcher who went 40-31 for the White Sox from 2008-10.

“He’s worked a long way to get back to where he is, and the last four or five games, I feel like he’s really picked it up,” Beckhams said. “You can tell that his stuff is a little bit better, getting back to the John Danks that we know. So definitely good.”

So is rediscovering what victory feels like.

Since his last win, Danks had been 0-5 with a 4.70 ERA and surrendered 11 home runs in his last eight starts. Even though he required a stint in extended spring training and still hasn’t regained all of his velocity, Danks has never made excuses.

[More: Tuesday's White Sox notebook]

He has felt -- and noted repeatedly -- he is more than capable of leading the White Sox to victory.

On Tuesday he put it all together.

“You can look at each game and pick out an at-bat or pitch where I didn’t do myself any favors,” Danks said. “Fortunately I was able to stay away from that. Good plays behind me, gave myself a good chance to win. ... For the most part I'm very pleased with how I threw the ball. Hopefully this win will get us on a little streak and finish the season on a high note.”