White Sox’ John Danks keeps Cubs quiet, bats do the rest
BY TONI GINNETTI email@example.com May 19, 2012 11:27PM
White Sox hitter Dayan Viciedo (R) gets a high five from A. J. Pierzynski after slugging a two-run homer in the third inning as the Chicago Cubs take on the Chicago White Sox Saturday May 19, 2012 at Wrigley Field. | TOM CRUZE~Sun-Times
Updated: July 1, 2012 12:36PM
No Paul Konerko.
No extra bats on the bench.
No problem for the White Sox.
Even struggling starter John Danks found himself Saturday at Wrigley Field as the Sox beat the Cubs 7-4 to take a 2-0 lead in the crosstown series.
With Konerko nursing a bruised left eye after being hit by a pitch Friday, the Sox got ample support from Dayan Viciedo, who hit one of their three home runs and gave Danks (3-4) the cushion he needed.
‘‘That’s always huge,’’ Danks said of an early 4-0 lead. ‘‘We’ll take all the runs we can get, especially early. It allows us to stay aggressive.’’
Viciedo drove in three of those four runs with an RBI single in the first inning and a two-run homer in the third. A.J. Pierzynski followed Viciedo with a home run in the third. Adam Dunn added a long solo blast in the eighth.
The Cubs had no runs until the ninth, when a pair of two-out, two-run homers by Alfonso Soriano and Joe Mather off Zach Stewart gave Cubs fans something to cheer.
Danks didn’t allow a hit until the fifth, when Soriano doubled. The Cubs got only two more singles off Danks, who worked 61/3 innings.
‘‘He made an adjustment on his slider,’’ Pierzynski said. ‘‘He’d been working real hard on the mechanics. He had a good one tonight, and he had all his pitches working.’’
The difference was dramatic for Danks, who entered the game with a 7.94 ERA in four consecutive winless starts. But he had a career mark of 2-1 with a 2.88 ERA against the Cubs.
‘‘I felt good, but there have been times I felt good before and lost concentration, and things can happen quickly,” said Danks, who was pulled after 83 pitches.
‘‘He just looked tired, and his velocity was going down,’’ Sox manager Robin Ventura said.
‘‘He went through us pretty easy,’’ Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. ‘‘Obviously, four innings of perfect ball. We’re making it pretty easy on some pitchers who come in struggling. We’re making them look pretty good. We’re making quick outs.’’
The victory assured the Sox of their fourth consecutive series in the rivalry. They improved their interleague record since 2008 to a major-league best 52-22.
Cubs starter Ryan Dempster (0-2) remained winless through his seventh start, and he allowed four runs in his second consecutive start.
‘‘I’ve just missed with a couple pitches the last couple starts,’’ he said. ‘‘I didn’t pitch well enough to win.’’
The night featured a pregame tribute to the NATO Summit, visiting NATO dignitaries, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton — who grew up a Cubs fan in Park Ridge — Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Gov. Pat Quinn, a Sox fan.