CHICAGO -- The last time Oakland came to town, John Danks pitched eight solid innings and was in line for the win when he turned over a three-run lead to the bullpen in the ninth inning. He never would have imagined entering Saturday's start nearly two months later at 1-8, fresh off his first victory of the season.
Danks ended up with a no-decision in that April 13 contest after White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen's club gave up three ninth-inning runs and eventually lost, 7-4, in extra innings, but the bullpen held on for Danks on Saturday. Danks improved to 2-8 after allowing just two runs over 7 2/3 innings before Jesse Crain pitched a scoreless 1 1/3 innings for the save.
"Every time Danks is on the mound, we expect good things from him, great things from him," Guillen said. "This kid is a warrior, I love to see him pitch, I do. I think everybody on this ballclub feels the same way."
Danks will now look to continue building off his 2-0 start to June, in which he has pitched 15 innings and allowed only two earned runs, while striking out 10 and walking three.
"There's still a lot of room to make up," Danks said. "I can't get ahead of myself because, as April and May showed, this game will slap you in the face as soon as you think you get it figured out."
"A lot of people say, '[His record] don't bother him.' Yes, of course, it bothers him," Guillen said. "But he doesn't show it to the people, he doesn't change. He's the same kid when he's good and he's the same kid when he's bad."
Santos' response important to closer's mindset
CHICAGO -- Despite Friday night's meltdown after being one strike away from closing out his 12th save, Sergio Santos is still going to be the guy anchoring White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen's bullpen.
Guillen, who has refrained from designating anyone as the official closer, maintained that stance on Saturday. His only concern at this point is not how Santos struggled, but how he responds the next time he is in a similar situation.
"I don't say Santos is the closer, but he's the one we will be using a lot," Guillen said. "Now, that's what I say, but it depends who's at the plate tomorrow or today. This kid is just learning how to pitch, we have to be patient with him.
Facing an 0-2 count with two outs and nobody on base, Josh Willingham eventually worked a walk against Santos to keep the game alive. After giving up an RBI single, another walk and a hit batter, Santos served up what turned out to be the game-winning, three-run double to Scott Sizemore.
"It happens to the best. That's why I'm not going to unplug him just because of that," Guillen said. "I gotta give him more confidence and make sure he knows his pitching coach and manager are behind him and we're gonna put him out there to blow another game."
Santos gave up at least three earned runs for the second straight outing, after allowing three runs off three hits and a pair of walks in the 10th inning of a 7-4 loss to Seattle on Wednesday night. After not allowing an earned run in his first 20 2/3 inning this season, Santos has allowed 11 over his last 10 innings of work, raising his ERA to 3.23.
Guillen said it was unlikely he would use Santos -- who threw 38 pitches on Friday -- in Saturday's game, and ideally would like to rest him on Sunday as well, which would give him three days off with the White Sox having an off-day on Monday.After John Danks worked the first 7 2/3 innings, Jesse Crain recorded the final four outs of Saturday's 3-2 victory for his first save of the season
Pierre, Pierzynski perched on the pine
CHICAGO -- With A's left-hander Gio Gonzalez on the mound on Saturday, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen figured it would be a good time to give Juan Pierre a day to rest.
Pierre, who went 0-for-5 in Friday night's 7-5 loss, had started 63 of the team's 66 games this season, but was relieved by Brent Lillibridge in left field.
"The way he plays," Guillen said, "he needs a day off once in a while just to recover his body and his arm."
A.J. Pierzynski also got the day off behind the plate, but Guillen said that was strictly so he would be ready for Sunday's day game.
Adam Dunn, who entered the day just 1-for-44 against lefties, remained in the starting lineup at DH, hitting sixth. Guillen said he had narrowed it down to giving either Dunn or Pierre the day off, but went with Pierre, who had started 40 straight games since April 28.
"I had to choose between Dunn and Juan Pierre, and I chose Juan Pierre, because every time Dunn is on the bench, the boss is losing a lot of money," Guillen said with a laugh. "But no, I just think Juan needed a day off more than Dunn."
Despite 22 of his 23 starts coming in the outfield this season, it was only the third career start -- all of which have come this season -- in left for Lillibridge, who made a game-saving catch in eighth to rob Coco Crisp of a two-run home run.
Streaking Konerko respects daily grind
CHICAGO -- Paul Konerko extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a fifth-inning single on Saturday, but saw his franchise-record streak of nine straight games with an extra-base hit come to an end.
Konerko used a first-inning home run Friday night to break Al Simmons' record of eight straight games with an extra-base hit, set in 1935. Konerko is on a tear, hitting .476 with six doubles, six home runs and 14 RBIs during his 11-game hitting streak.
"That's not going to help me get any hits tonight though," Konerko said before Saturday's 3-2 victory against the A's. "Unfortunately, this game just keeps coming at you every day and you get to enjoy things like that more after the season or after your career is over."
Along with Konerko's recent streaks, teammate Carlos Quentin had recorded five home runs and 14 RBIs of his own in the midst of his career-high-tying 12-game hitting streak, which ended with an 0-for-4 on Saturday.
"There's a lot of factors that go into it," Konerko said. "You're never really as good as the numbers are when they're good, and you're not as bad as they are when they're bad. It's somewhere in the middle."
Third to first
Ramon Castro hit his first home run at U.S. Cellular Field since July 29, 2010, against the Mariners, when he went deep for a solo shot in the fourth inning on Saturday. Danks has won back-to-back starts for the first time since Sept. 25 and Sept. 30 of last season. The nine walks received against the A's on Saturday are the most the White Sox have had since also walking nine times against the Tigers on Sept. 19, 2010.
Paul Casella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.