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White Sox’ John Danks finally picks up a victory

White Sox pitcher John Danks smiles as 2nd inning ends during Chicago White Sox-Seattle Mariners game Monday June 6 2011

White Sox pitcher John Danks smiles as the 2nd inning ends during the Chicago White Sox-Seattle Mariners game Monday June 6, 2011 at US Cellular Field. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: September 29, 2011 12:27AM



Monday was the first day of the baseball season for John Danks — at least that’s the way White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen wanted his star-crossed lefty to feel.

‘‘I don’t want John Danks to worry about his record,’’ Guillen said before Danks took the mound to face the ­Seattle Mariners. ‘‘I want John Danks to do what I told Alex Rios and Adam Dunn to do. It’s not what you did for two months. It’s what you can do for the next three or four months.

‘‘The games he lost, the games he pitched bad, the games he pitched good — you have to throw everything in the garbage and worry about what you can do from now on.’’

The start of his new season was exactly what Guillen, Danks and the Sox wanted.

The 3-1 victory ended Danks’ ­winless misery that had reached 0-8 and also gave the Sox a nine-game winning streak against the ­Mariners.

‘‘It’s definitely big,’’ a relieved Danks said. ‘‘It’s nice to get the first one under the belt. It took two months, but better late than never, I guess.

‘‘I’d be lying if I said it hadn’t been tough. A lot of beating myself up — not doubting myself but ­wondering when it would turn around. I was trying my best not to think about it, but I’d be lying if I didn’t see that 0-8 on the screen all the time. I’ve still got a lot of ground to make up.’’

The game was one of his best, and not just because of the victory.

He worked a season-high 71/3 ­innings, and the only run he gave up was unearned. In the eighth, Greg Halman led off with an infield single and took second when first baseman Dunn dropped Danks’ pick-off throw for an error. Brendan Ryan’s one-out single scored Halman.

‘‘It looked like the old John,’’ catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. ‘‘He had a good slider and changeup. We’ve been trying and trying and working and working to get him to where he needed to be. He finally found his slider and changeup. Those have always been his best pitches. We’d been fighting to ­figure it out. When you can’t throw either one of your best pitches, it limits your options.

‘‘He had it all together tonight. Hopefully, it’ll be the start. No one is happier for him than me.’’

Sergio Santos pitched the ninth inning for his 11th save.

Paul Konerko gave Danks a 1-0 lead when he homered to lead off the fourth inning against Mariners rookie star Michael Pineda (6-3). Konerko’s 13th home run made it seven games in a row for him with at least one RBI.

Gordon Beckham drove in a ­second run in the seventh inning with a two-out single that scored A.J. Pierzynski from third.

The Sox added their third run in the eighth after Jesse Crain ­entered for Danks.

Pierzynski singled off reliever David Pauley to drive in Rios from second. Rios was running for ­Carlos Quentin, who had doubled.



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