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Danks delivers solid effort in loss to rival Cubs

Left-hander allows four runs over five innings while striking out two

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Rick Renteria will have to wait until May 5-8 to experience the intensity of the Cubs-White Sox rivalry at the regular-season level, with two games at Wrigley Field followed by two at U.S. Cellular Field.

The new Cubs manager got a small taste of the Interleague crosstown battle Friday before a sellout crowd of 13,038 at Camelback Ranch, with his squad claiming a 7-0 victory over the White Sox.

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"I'm not really up on the White Sox-Cubbie history, even though I've heard it's pretty intense, which is pretty cool," Renteria said before the Cubs improved to 11-14 this spring.

This first 2014 Cactus League matchup between the two teams featured well-pitched games from White Sox starter John Danks and Cubs starter Chris Rusin. The only blip for either one came in the Cubs fourth, when Danks allowed four runs on four hits.

Luis Valbuena delivered the inning's knockout punch, when he crushed the first pitch of his at-bat into the right-field stands for a three-run homer. Valbuena has five homers and 17 RBIs lifetime against the White Sox, which represents single-team career-highs in both categories for the infielder. Valbuena added another homer, a solo shot, in the seventh inning.

Ryan Kalish kept that inning alive for Valbuena with a two-out single off of Danks that scored Mike Olt, who had two hits.

Danks yielded the four runs on six hits over five innings, striking out two and not issuing a walk. Rusin, meanwhile, limited the White Sox to singles from Avisail Garcia and Jose Abreu over five scoreless innings, while striking out three and not issuing a walk in his continued quest for the rotation's fifth starter slot.

"I felt real good. I was able to throw all my pitches and I felt good about where I'm at," Danks said. "Obviously, there are a couple I would like to have back but the goal today was not to walk anybody and I did that. I feel like I got my command better than what it has been and still got some good stuff on the ball."

Cubs top prospect Javier Baez finished 1-for-3 with an infield single against Matt Lindstrom in the sixth in what was Lindstrom's first Cactus League appearance following a left oblique strain. But Baez left the game after beating out that grounder at first. It was later diagnosed as a right heel contusion. White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers left the game in the bottom of the frame with leg cramps after swinging through a 1-1 pitch from Cubs reliever Alberto Cabrera.

Up Next: It's a split-squad Saturday for the White Sox, with a game against the Giants set for a 3:05 p.m. CT first pitch at Camelback Ranch, and another contest against the Padres taking place in Peoria with a 3:05 p.m. CT first pitch as well. Felipe Paulino starts for the White Sox vs. the Giants, while Chris Beck gets the call against the Padres. Adrian Nieto will get work behind the plate against the Giants, while Hector Gimenez is set to catch in Peoria. The Giants game can be seen live on MLB.TV, while fans can listen on Gameday Audio to the Padres game.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin.

Chicago White Sox, John Danks