CHICAGO – In a lost season, John Danks found something encouraging.
Danks allowed four runs in the first two innings of the White Sox’s 4-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday.
From his perspective, though, the next five innings were more important.
“From the third inning on, that’s what I hope to be from this moment on – a groundball machine that’s throwing strikes and working quick and trying to get our guys back up to the plate as quickly as possible,” Danks said.
“I know what I need to work on,” he said. “I’ve talked to [pitching coach Don Cooper, trainer Herm Schneider] and everybody. It’s my job to go do it now.”
Danks retired 16 straight batters, 12 on routine groundballs, from the final out of second inning through the seventh. His fastball wasn’t any faster, but his command, location and pitch selection all were better.
“He was down in the zone more,” manager Robin Ventura said. “Earlier in the game, he was up in the zone and just didn’t have a feel for it and they made him pay. They were jumping on stuff early.
It wasn’t enough for Danks (4-14) to avoid the loss, mainly because Twins starter Scott Diamond pitched into the seventh inning for his first win since June.
Diamond (6-11) allowed three runs and five hits in 61/3 innings to earn his first big league win since June 20 against the Sox. Since then, he was 0-5 with a 6.20 ERA in eight starts and spent more than a month at Triple-A Rochester.
“I was really happy,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He threw the ball. Got us deep in the game. For the most part worked ahead in the count and used his pitches.”
Minnesota had only scored four runs during the first two games of the series, but matched that in the first two innings, scoring once in the first and three times in the second.
Oswaldo Arcia, Chris Colabello, Eric Fryer and Brian Dozier drove in runs that helped the Twins win for the second time in eight games.
Diamond improved to 3-0 against the Sox.
Glen Perkins pitched a scoreless ninth for his 36th save in 40 tries, snapping the Sox’s five-game winning streak against the Twins.