John Danks gives thanks for run support from Sox
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN email@example.com April 11, 2012 8:56PM
Carlos Santana, Alejandro De Aza
Updated: May 13, 2012 10:28AM
CLEVELAND — There’s something to be said for winning on getaway days.
“You like to win them because the team is together right after,’’ White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “It creates a good bond when you’re getting on a plane. It’s good for a team to get that confidence when you win that last game getting out of town somewhere.’’
The Sox (3-2) got out of Cleveland on Wednesday with two wins in as many games against a Central Division foe, heading off to their first homestand, which opens Friday, with a 10-6 win in tow.
Before the bonding on the team’s charter, left-hander John Danks was shown some meaningful love with 10 runs of support, including four in the first inning. Danks (1-1) didn’t think anybody cared last season, when his teammates gave him no more than six runs in any game. The four in the first matched a season high for Danks.
“I’ll take it, especially on a day like today — I needed it,’’ Danks said. “Very, very fortunate to get it, especially against Justin Masterson. He’s one of the better pitchers in baseball. For us to do what we did against him, that’s impressive.”
A.J. Pierzynski drove in the Sox’ fourth run of the first with a sacrifice fly in the first against Masterson (0-1) and their eighth, ninth and 10th runs with a two-out homer in the sixth against Chris Perez. Leadoff man Alejandro De Aza also homered in the sixth. De Aza and Pierzynski homered in the Sox’ 4-2 win here Monday.
“I’ve been facing that guy for a long time and he always makes good slider, good slider, good slider,’’ Pierzynski said, “and he finally hung one and I didn’t miss it. It was nice.’’
Before ducking into the Sox dugout, Pierzynski blew kisses to an Indians fan who has heckled the Sox catcher for a long time, too.
On a frigid, gray afternoon, the Sox’ first four hitters got on base as De Aza singled, Brent Morel laid down a perfect bunt and reached on an error, Adam Dunn singled and Paul Konerko doubled before Pierzynski’s sac fly.
Konerko’s RBI single in the fifth was the only other damage against Masterson. Konerko drove in two runs, scored two and raised his average to .450 by going 2-for-3.
“Any time you face Masterson, any runs you get at all is huge because he’s shoved it up our rear ends a few times the last few years,’’ Pierzynski said. “To jump on him early, the first four guys get hits and to cash them all in was huge.’’
Danks walked five and gave up a home run and two-run double to Travis Hafner, one of six Indians lefties in the lineup against him. He allowed four runs on seven hits over 51/3 innings that required 107 pitches to labor through.
“Early on, my cutter was the go-to pitch and then the changeup became good,’’ Danks said. “Then, the changeup went away for some reason. Whatever. I don’t have an explanation. If I did, I would have fixed it out there. I’m hoping it was just the weather and just kind of difficult conditions mixed in with not having your best stuff and maybe trying to do too much with the ball, I don’t know.’’
It wasn’t a picture-perfect win with an error, three wild pitches, six walks and two catchable fly balls that fell in the outfield for hits, but the Sox were more than happy to go home with a winning record. They brace themselves for the 4-1 Detroit Tigers.
“Other than the offense, today was probably the worst game we played,’’ Danks said. “I didn’t help the cause by walking five with the runs we had on the board.
“You have to look at it like it was a positive trip.’’
Danks started 0-8 last season, so this was a step in the right direction.
“At least he didn’t have to wait till June to celebrate his first victory,’’ Pierzynski said.