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Rough first frame, missed chances doom Danks, Sox

Left-hander gives up eight runs in five innings; Abreu hits 11th homer

CLEVELAND -- The question in John Danks' mind following Cleveland's 12-5 victory over the White Sox at Progressive Field didn't really center on what he was struggling with Friday night.

"[Heck], I don't know what I did good," said Danks, after watching his team lose for a seventh straight time in Cleveland.

Yes, it was a long night for Danks (2-2), although he only lasted five innings. Danks allowed eight runs on 10 hits, including home runs to Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley, while striking out three and walking three. He was up in the zone with most of his pitches and struggled with command for a second straight start.

"I feel like I made some decent pitches that they were able to either fight off or place them," said Danks, who threw 100 pitches in just five innings. "There wasn't a whole lot to take from tonight.

"As the game went on, I was able to throw a back-door cutter effectively. But too little, too late, I guess."

In reality, there's not much need to look deeper than Friday's first inning to understand the story of this game and the White Sox third straight setback. The White Sox (14-16) opened this contest on an encouraging note with an Adam Eaton nine-pitch walk and Gordon Beckham's single to right, putting runners on first and third with nobody out against the supremely talented -- but often erratic -- Cleveland starter Danny Salazar (1-3).

Jose Abreu, who stands a solid chance to be named both American League Rookie of the Month and Player of the Month for April, struck out, and Adam Dunn grounded into an inning-ending double play. The threat was over, and the White Sox remained scoreless.

Danks could not return the favor against the Indians' offense in the bottom of the first. During a 42-pitch inning, Cleveland scored five times on five hits and two walks.

Santana doubled home a run and Ryan Raburn singled home two. Raburn was 0-for-22 before picking up his fifth and sixth RBIs of the season. All six have come against the White Sox, with 74 of his career 277 RBIs also coming against the South Siders.

Yan Gomes' two-run double, a slice shot just inside the right-field line, completed the first-inning outburst.

"They hit the ball. They were painting the lines. It seemed like everything they hit was falling in," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of the Indians against Danks. "He was up in the zone, but even when he made a pitch, they put it in play. They were hitting with guys on base. It was their night.

"You tip your hat to these guys. They hit the ball and put it where nobody was, and that's part of it."

Three runs in the second brought the White Sox back quickly, with Adrian Nieto picking up his first career RBI. But whenever the White Sox scored, the Indians (12-17) answered immediately.

After striking out in his first two at-bats of May, Abreu picked up where he left off with his 11th homer of the season coming in the fifth against Salazar. Abreu has the most homers in team history through a player's first 30 career games.

Cleveland's lead actually was sliced to 8-5 when a wild pitch scored Alejandro De Aza in the sixth, before the Indians scored four in the bottom of the inning off of Scott Downs and Maikel Cleto. To add injury to insult, Eaton left in the bottom of the fourth with a strained right hamstring, trying to beat out a double-play ball at first.

Eaton speculated after the contest that this latest leg injury could land him on the disabled list to give him time to get totally healthy. At the very least, Eaton won't be playing Saturday, per Ventura.

"I'm not doing any good when I'm [playing] at 80 percent," Eaton said.

"He just didn't look right running down the line," Ventura said. "We'll assess him tonight."

That Eaton grounder came with the bases loaded and one out, after Salazar struck out Nieto with the bases loaded, nobody out and a 3-0 count to start the Nieto at-bat. It was one of those nights when the White Sox were closer than the final score might indicate, but missed out on those one or two big hits.

"I thought he did an outstanding job of damage control," said Cleveland manager Terry Francona of Salazar, who allowed three earned runs in five-plus innings. "A couple leadoff walks, a couple balls we didn't turn to second. Once he had his hands full, I thought he really threw the ball well."

"We had chances. We had guys on base. [Salazar] pitched out of it," Ventura said. "Even though he didn't go very long, he pitched out of some tough jams. First inning, we had something going. Bases loaded, he really bucked up right there and got out of that one. We had chances."

A next starting chance for Danks comes against the Cubs at U.S. Cellular Field, where he hopes to have better command and better results.

"It's not rocket science. I just have to throw more strikes," Danks said. "You've got to get into pitchers' counts. I'm playing in hitters' counts way too much and getting burned for it."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin.
Read More: Chicago White Sox, John Danks, Alejandro De Aza, Jose Abreu