Danks tallies nine strikeouts as White Sox beat A’s

 

 

CHICAGO – John Danks kept hitting his target, just as he’s been doing all season. The only spot he missed Sunday was one on the All-Star team.

Danks pitched like he belonged, setting a career-high with nine strikeouts as the Chicago White Sox handed Rich Harden his first loss in a year while hanging on to beat the Oakland Athletics 4-3 for their 10th win in 13 games.

“I really felt like we needed a split in the series,” Danks said.

They got it after the Athletics scored a run against Scott Linebrink in the ninth to pull within one, but Jack Cust flied to right with runners on first and second to end the game.

Danks (6-4) took a no-hitter into the sixth as the White Sox salvaged a four-game split after dropping the first two.

He had help at the plate and in the field from first-time All-Stars Joe Crede and Carlos Quentin while the White Sox built a 3-0 lead.

Crede drove in Quentin with a bases-loaded walk in the first and scored on Alexei Ramirez’s single during a two-run fourth that made it 3-0. Quentin came through with a leaping catch at the left-field wall with one out in the sixth to rob Mark Ellis of an extra-base hit after Gregorio Petit led off with a single.

Danks escaped that jam but couldn’t get out of the seventh.

He allowed a leadoff double to Emil Brown and one-out single by Daric Barton before Rob Bowen drove a two-run double down the left-field line. That chased Danks, who left to loud cheers after allowing four hits and walking two in holding the opponent to two runs or less for the 15th time in 18 starts.

He’ll have to wait for his first All-Star invitation, though. Not that he expected one, with eight no-decisions.

“The wins weren’t there,” he said. “Team wins are there, which is what we’re really focused on.”

The latest win turned into a nailbiter.

The White Sox made it 4-2 in the bottom half, when DeWayne Wise led off with a double and scored on A.J. Pierzynski’s sacrifice fly.

Matt Thornton allowed a bloop single to Wes Bankston but struck out two during a scoreless eighth. With closer Bobby Jenks still nursing soreness below his left shoulder, the White Sox turned to Linebrink in the ninth and there was more drama.He allowed a one-out single by Hannahan, and the trouble mounted. Pinch hitter Kurt Suzuki singled off Crede’s glove with two out, and Mark Ellis drove in Hannahan with a single to center before Cust flied out.

“We were right there, one swing,” Oakland manager Bob Geren said. “I thought the ball that Jack hit was going to be a home run.”

Dye caught it about 10 feet from the warning track, giving Linebrink his first save in three chances, and the White Sox closed out an 8-2 homestand that included three-game sweeps of the Cubs and Cleveland.

“It’s huge,” Pierzynski said. “We played well against three pretty good teams. … Oakland’s a good team. They’re not going to go away.”