Danks shuts out overly aggressive Astros
HOUSTON -- John Danks pitched a 10-hit shutout, and the left-hander received plenty of run support in a 6-0 White Sox win over the Astros on Sunday afternoon, the rubber match of a three-game series at Minute Maid Park.
"These are some tough teams on this road trip, and we're still keeping our heads up and getting after it," said Chicago manager Robin Ventura. "It's nice, especially with the way the bullpen has been the last four or five days, to be able to get nine innings out of your starter."
Danks, who became the sixth pitcher in team history to record a shutout while allowing at least 10 hits, had six strikeouts -- surpassing 1,000 for his career -- and one walk.
"He did a good job of preventing that big inning and made his pitches," said Astros center fielder Jake Marisnick, who had a single and a double. "He did well."
A three-run third inning off Houston starter Roberto Hernandez gave the White Sox a four-run lead. A seventh-inning home run from Adam LaRoche, his sixth of the season, pushed the lead to 6-0.
Jonathan Villar had a triple and double. But the Houston shortstop was thrown out at the plate trying for an inside-the-park home run for the first out in the bottom of the fifth, and was caught in a rundown between third and home to end the seventh inning.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Running it up: The White Sox chipped away at Hernandez all game, but they took the biggest chunk in the third inning. Filling in for the injured Jose Abreu, DH Conor Gillaspie pumped a bases-loaded, two-run single through the right side for a 3-0 lead. Alexei Ramirez added a fielder's choice RBI one batter later, and the White Sox were never seriously threatened the rest of the way. They scored in four frames from the second through the eighth inning, but the third was the only multiple-run damage.
Feeling empty: The Astros strung together three straight singles in the third inning off Danks but were unable to score as Jose Altuve hit into an inning-ending double play, and in the fifth, they had a triple and a double and also came up empty. Villar led off the bottom of the fifth with a triple that center fielder Adam Eaton misplayed. The ball ran all the way up to the base of Tal's Hill in dead center, but Villar was out on an 8-6-2 play at the plate. More >
"It looks bad, 6-0, but we put together 10 hits, no long balls for us, no timely hits. We didn't string anything together and they did," said Astros DH Evan Gattis, who extended his season-high hitting streak to seven games.
Out of the jam: Altuve was initially ruled safe at first base on his inning-ending double play, but Ventura's challenge overturned the call, wiping a run off the scoreboard and extinguishing the biggest threat to Danks (3-4) all game. The double play made for a blip on the radar rather than a pothole, as Danks cruised after that. His complete-game effort was the longest since he lasted eight innings against the Yankees on May 24, 2014. More >
"I was a little surprised [they sent Villar]. I thought maybe my depth perception of where Alexei was off. But once he threw it to me, I saw it was going to be an in-between hop and I saw where the baserunner was, plenty of room, so I backed up a little bit to get a long hop and I was still able to get there." -- White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers, on Villar's inside-the-park attempt
"The throw coming in from center, I think [third-base coach] Gary [Pettis] read short hop to the shortstop. The shortstop has to make a long throw. Gary's very aggressive, he pushes our guys to get to the next base. The aggressive mindset I like, it's something we've done since day one. It can be a little deflating. Obviously it was a bad out." -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch
White Sox: After an off-day Monday, the White Sox will play behind starter Jeff Samardzija on Tuesday night (7:05 CT) in Arlington against the Rangers, who will also be fresh off an extra day of rest. Samardzija has been a workhorse for Chicago, averaging 7 2/3 innings in his last three starts while decreasing his runs allowed in each. The righty is plenty familiar with the bulk of the Texas lineup, facing them twice in September when he was with the A's.
Astros: Brett Oberholtzer comes off the DL on Monday at 7:10 p.m. CT to make his second start of the season for the Astros, replacing the injured Scott Feldman in the rotation. The Astros open a four-game series with the Orioles, whom they played last week in Baltimore.
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