By DAVE SKRETTA AP Sports Writer
The Clinton Herald
---- — KANSAS CITY, Mo. — John Danks wasn’t about to blame anyone for his own misfortune. He went eight straight starts without a victory for the Chicago White Sox simply because he didn’t perform.
He finally did Tuesday night in Kansas City.
Danks shut down the Royals’ scuffling offense over eight innings, and the White Sox managed to squeak out just enough support for a 2-0 victory in the opener of their three-game series.
“You can look at each game and pick out an at-bat or a certain pitch where I didn’t do myself any favors. Fortunately, I was able to stay away from that today,” said Danks, whose last win came against the Orioles on July 2. “I felt like I was giving myself the best chance to win tonight.”
Hard to give your team a better chance than by blanking your opponent.
Danks (3-10) ended his exasperating winless streak by scattering seven hits and a walk. That the veteran left-hander’s finest start of the year came against the Royals wasn’t much of a surprise, either: Danks improved to 5-0 against them in 13 career starts.
“There were a lot of guys swinging early, but he was throwing strikes,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “For him to go eight against a lineup like this that’s been tough on us is pretty good.”
White Sox closer Addison Reed worked around a leadoff single in the ninth for his 32nd save. It wrapped up the fourth straight win for the last-place White Sox, and their first shutout victory since beating the Los Angeles Angels 3-0 on May 17.
“Hopefully this will get us on a little streak to finish the season on a high,” Danks said.
Gordon Beckham homered off Santana (8-7) in the first inning for the only earned run. The other run for the White Sox came in the second, when Paul Konerko trotted home from third on a passed ball that curiously disappeared in the padding behind home plate.
Except for those two blemishes, Santana matched zeros with Danks through six innings. He walked two and struck out five, including Josh Phegley to leave the bases loaded in the fourth.
It was the fourth straight win for the White Sox and the third consecutive loss for the Royals, who are slip-sliding out of wild-card contention after a spirited run. They’ve lost six of their last eight games, their lone wins coming in a sweep of a double-header in Detroit.
Things are going so badly that balls are disappearing on them at the worst of times.
Konerko led off the second inning with a double, and Avisail Garcia singled to put runners on the corners for the White Sox. Santana was facing Conor Gillaspie when he threw a pitch that hit the tip of Salvador Perez’s glove and bounced toward the backstop behind home plate.
The ball disappeared in the green padding above one of the advertising signs, and Perez threw up his hands as if to say, “What now?” Meanwhile, Konerko had started to trot home with a confused look on his face, and for a moment nobody in the ballpark seemed to know what was going on.
“I never seen anything like that,” Santana said. “I was looking at Salvy and he was looking at me. I was like, ‘Where’s the ball?’ He’s like, ‘I don’t know!’ It was hard.”
Garcia was awarded second base, but Santana retired the next three batters to limit the damage.
“I mean, that stuff happens,” Ventura said. “It’s one of those you lose in the tarp or the way they have advertising now, it’s just one of those that kind of goes your way.”
Kansas City’s bullpen pitched three shutout innings once Santana left the game, but its woeful offense couldn’t break through against Danks, who came into the game with a 4.54 ERA. He never allowed a runner to reach third base, and even picked off a runner at first in the eighth.
“We weren’t doing anything offensively, and then he got ahead of us,” the Royals’ Alex Gordon said. “A lot of guys were taking, trying to get something going. But he was pounding the zone, throwing a lot of strikes. Give credit to him, but we just didn’t do a very good job offensively.”