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John Danks shakes off drive to head, White Sox step up for win

PHOENIX AZ - JUNE 18:  Alex Rios #51 Chicago White Sox celebrates with teammate Carlos Quent#20 after hitting three-run

PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 18: Alex Rios #51 of the Chicago White Sox celebrates with teammate Carlos Quentin #20 after hitting a three-run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on June 18, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) R:\Merlin\Getty_Photos\GYI0065221603.jpg

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Updated: September 24, 2011 12:22AM

PHOENIX — The White Sox needed a shock to their system
after losing three consecutive games. Seeing pitcher John Danks take a line drive off his head wasn’t what they had in mind.

Danks fortunately was able to laugh off one of the most frightening and bizarre scenes of the season, and the Sox responded with a much-needed 6-2 victory against
the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night.

Danks pitched seven strong innings to claim his third straight victory, and Alex Rios’ slumbering bat woke up with a three-run homer in the eighth against Micah Owings. After the game, Danks left for a CT scan. He did not have a concussion.

Stephen Drew lined a pitch from Danks off the back of the Sox left-hander’s noggin in the fourth.
The ball caromed all the way into the third-base dugout for a ground rule double.

To everyone’s surprise, Danks got back up — with a smile on his face.

‘‘That’s just my personality. I like to have a good time,’’ Danks said. ‘‘I didn’t think I was hurt.’’

Willie Bloomquist, who advanced to third on the play, scored on a passed ball by Ramon Castro. Drew scored on a sacrifice fly by Justin Upton.

‘‘I was trying to the stay in the game, and fortunately they let me do it,’’ said Danks, who struck out seven and walked none to improve to 3-0 with a 1.22 ERA in his last three starts after starting the season 0-8.

When the replay of Drew’s smash was shown on the big screen at Chase Field, the crowd of 33,230 gasped.

‘‘He showed you what kind of guy we have,’’ manager Ozzie Guillen said. ‘‘To keep throwing the ball and not complain . . . I was not surprised by what he did. I have known John for three, four years.’’

The Sox (34-38) could ill afford to lose more ground behind the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians in the American League Central. The Indians have a 51/2-game lead.

Guillen said he feels lucky to be within striking distance considering how inconsistent his team is playing.

‘‘If we start playing better, this team can do a lot of damage,’’ Guillen said. ‘‘We’re just waiting for them to do it.’’

The subject of poor fundamentals came up before the game from right-hander Jake Peavy, and Guillen didn’t disagree.

‘‘We’ve got to shore up some things fundamentally on all aspects,’’ Peavy said. ‘‘The roller-coaster ride has been just because I think a lack of fundamentals has let us down here and there, whether it be moving a guy over, whether it’s slide-stepping, it’s just fundamentals from all players — offensively, defensively, pitching. We shore those things up, consistency will be a little bit better than it has been, and hopefully we’ll have better results.’’

Said Guillen: ‘‘The only thing I’m really concerned and where we are really horrible is with men on third base and less than two out. That’s killing this ballclub all the way from the beginning. I don’t know what’s the reason why we can’t score the guy from third base with less than two outs.’’

Rios, who did just that with a grounder to shortstop that scored Paul Konerko in the second, also singled and finished with four RBI. The homer, his sixth, was his first since May 21.

‘‘That was a great job putting the ball in play and getting the run in,’’ Guillen said. ‘‘When you get that run in with a man on third base, you can see the difference in the dugout. Everybody is excited.’’

Konerko had two singles and a home run. He is 29-for-65 with eight homers, six doubles and 18 RBI in his last 17 games. He’s so hot that Guillen changed his mind about giving him a day off today.

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