Danks, White Sox frustrated in Texas
Bloop hits main culprit of left-hander's loss to Rangers
ARLINGTON -- One moment during the Rangers' 5-1 victory on Sunday night at their home ballpark perfectly summed up the evening to forget for White Sox starter John Danks.
Nelson Cruz led off the sixth inning with a single to right, what would be the ninth of 10 hits surrendered by Danks over 5 1/3 innings, marking the first time in Danks' career that he allowed double-digit safeties in a game.
But at least half of those hits were of this same, less-than-authoritative variety. Danks turned and watched Cruz's ball drop softly and neatly in front of right fielder Scott Podsednik, and the young hurler simply waved his arms in a frustrated, 'You've got to be kidding me' sort of motion.
Or in this instance, that movement might have stood for 'It's not my night' on Danks' part.
"What are you going to do?" said Danks, who was beaten but certainly not beaten down by the loss to the team that drafted him with the ninth pick overall in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft. "Yeah, it was frustrating.
"You really just have to tip your hat to them. I didn't feel like I had my best command in the world, but I did have plenty of stuff."
Danks' words neatly summed up the evening for the White Sox, as they dropped their third series out of the past four. The game started out poorly, with Josh Fields getting hit in the left wrist by a Matt Harrison pitch with one out in the top of the first, and Ian Kinsler putting Texas on the board with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the frame.
Following Kinsler's second home run of the series, the Rangers (12-12) never trailed. Danks (2-2) gave up five earned runs, striking out three and walking one. He has now allowed 10 runs on 18 hits over his past 9 1/3 innings, adding up to a two-game losing streak, coming on the heels of a paltry two earned runs given up over his first 19 innings pitched in the 2009 season.
"My job description is to give us a chance to win and give us innings. I've done neither in either of the last two starts," Danks said. "I'm going to have to bounce back."
The White Sox (12-12) scored in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Jayson Nix, who had two hits in his Chicago regular-season debut, but they had numerous chances to score more. Wilson Betemit opened the second inning with a double off Harrison (2-2), but moved up only one base, and Paul Konerko was stranded at second in the fourth after a one-out double.
Alexei Ramirez, Brent Lillibridge and Nix all singled off Harrison in the fifth, but third-base coach Jeff Cox held Ramirez on Nix's ground ball to left to load the bases with one out. Fields, whose injured left wrist was tightening up enough during the game that it might keep him out of action on Monday night in Kansas City, struck out swinging, and Carlos Quentin flied out to right to end the rally.
According to White Sox manager Guillen, the fifth-inning blanking, with his team trailing by just three runs, all but sealed Chicago's fate.
"That was basically the game right there," said Guillen of the no-run, three-hit fifth. "We had an opportunity to get back in the game with the bases loaded and one out, but we didn't take advantage. We continue to struggle with the bat."
Texas pitchers seemed to struggle with their location over the past two games, with Fields standing as the fourth White Sox hit batsmen in 18 innings. Guillen did not retaliate, perceiving the incidents as unfortunate but certainly not intentional.
"I'm not a headhunter, and I don't think they try to hit anybody," Guillen said. "They honestly don't, because if they will, I will let them know right away.
"They try to pitch in, and unfortunately they hit us, but you can't control that. You get upset and you get mad because your players are getting hurt. But in the meanwhile, that's part of the game. They don't try to hit anyone. They try to pitch in, and we can't do nothing about it."
On Friday night in Chicago, Danks has a chance to do something about his 1-2 career record and 5.30 ERA against the Rangers. He opens this three-game set at U.S. Cellular Field, but looks at the game as nothing more than another chance to set up his team for a victory and wipe out a little of Sunday's frustration.
Those Texas bonds are limited to Danks' personal life, at this point.
"We came up together and it's always fun to face him," said Kinsler of Danks. "Danks throws the ball really well, and we go at each other every time we face each other."
"It's always been just another start," Danks said. "I have more at stake than worrying about what these guys are doing or thinking or trying to impress someone. I have my own career to worry about."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.