CHICAGO -- Left-hander John Danks wasn't perfect, although he started out to be, but he was good enough.
Danks cooled off the hot-hitting Royals enough for the White Sox to post a 6-3 victory on a chilly Saturday night in front of 26,249 at U.S. Cellular Field. The Royals had averaged more than 14 hits and seven runs in their previous nine games, but Danks and three relievers held them to six hits and three runs.
"We've had trouble solving Danks all year long," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He's really good against us."
Danks, who is now 5-0 with a 2.73 ERA in 12 career starts against the Royals, began this game as if he wanted to add a no-hitter to those impressive credentials.
Danks retired the first 14 Royals he faced with five strikeouts and only one ball leaving the infield, Lorenzo Cain's game-opening lineout to left. But, with two outs in the fifth, Salvador Perez drilled a solid line-drive single into center field, giving him hits in 14 of his last 15 games. Mike Moustakas flied to center for the third out, but the perfect game was over.
"I knew I had a no-hitter going, I'm not going to lie, I know I did," Danks said. "[Catcher A.J. Pierzynski] and I were talking in between innings, honestly this was probably the best stuff I've had all year."
Yost would attest to that as he watched from the dugout as his Royals flailed helplessly for five innings.
"His arm action is very deceptive," Yost said. "He does a real nice job of keeping the ball down and away and cutting it in on our hands. His changeup's got great arm speed, we have a hard time recognizing it."
With the Royals behind 5-0, Johnny Giavotella opened the sixth with a long single, after assuming his drive had been caught at the wall. Left fielder Juan Pierre leaped high and came close, but the ball bypassed his glove and banked off the top of the wall. Giavotella obviously believed Pierre had caught the ball and was pulling up after rounding first base, starting to remove his helmet. Suddenly he realized the ball was rolling loose and had to retreat to first base.
"I looked up and I could've sworn I saw the ball go in his glove and that he came down with it," Giavotella said. "I assumed he caught it and that's not the right thing to do. I should've continued running until I saw the umpire make a motion. I talked to the umpires [later] and they were kind of perplexed about what happened."
Giavotella said that second-base umpire C.B. Bucknor's no-catch signal came a bit late, but that was no excuse for the baserunning faux pax.
As it turned out, however, the hit launched a three-run inning for the Royals. Alcides Escobar fanned but Cain walked and Melky Cabrera belted a two-run double to deep center. Billy Butler also struck out but Eric Hosmer singled to score Cabrera before Danks' eighth strikeout stopped the outburst.
After that, however, Danks kept going into the eighth inning and beat the Royals for the third time this season.
"He's got four plus pitches in my opinion," said Butler, who went hitless. "He's throwing a lot of strikes, gets ahead -- pretty much a strike machine. For righties, his changeup is really tough to pick up and he throws it with a lot of arm speed. He's one of the tougher lefties for me. I'd rather face a righty than Danks."
Cabrera's infield single with one out in the eighth prompted White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen to lift Danks. The hit also left Cabrera just one shy of 200 for the season.
After two victorious starts in which he gave up just one run, Royals left-hander Everett Teaford gave up four runs in just the second inning of this game.
"I just wasn't getting ahead of guys and then when you make it predictable, it's a lot easier. I wasn't getting ahead, I wasn't getting the ball down. Those are two bad, bad things to do," Teaford said.
Alex Rios followed Pierzysnki's leadoff single with a line-drive home run just over the left-field wall, his 13th of the season. Then Teaford had a control lapse, issuing three walks around Dayan Viciedo's single to force in a run. Alexei Ramirez's sacrifice fly made the score 4-0.
"He was just up with everything -- he got burned up," Yost said. "Two or three walks that inning turned around biting him."
Brent Morel opened the White Sox fourth with a home run to left field, continuing his rambunctious September. This was Morel's eighth home run of the month after the rookie third baseman had hit just two homers in the first five months of the season. It was also his 18th RBI of September; he had just 21 previously.
Teaford finished five innings, giving up the five runs on six hits and three walks. Right-hander Blake Wood took over and worked two scoreless innings before the White Sox added a run in the eighth on Rios' triple and a fielder's choice.
Morel said it was fun to turn the tables on the Royals who jumped off to quick lead in their 11-1 victory on Friday night.
"Definitely," Morel said. "We got that early lead and, the way Johnny was pitching, we gave him enough runs and he did a good job throwing seven, eight innings out there and we held on for the win."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.