The White Sox began the post-Avisail portion of their 2014 season, and their campaign to retrieve their dignity from the hands of the Cleveland Indians with a booming leadoff Asdrubal Cabrea double off the left field wall. Within minutes the Indians had plated two runs off John Danks, and Indians starter Danny Salazar struck out the side in the bottom half of the inning.
The local mood was...subdued.
Baseball's pace and segmentation is good for identifying specific moments of turnaround. And if pressed to pick one, that turnaround would probably be the moment Jose Abreu turned around a hanging slider from Salazer deep into the center field bleachers. Despite 10 strikeouts from Salazar, the Sox put tallies on the board for four-straight innings, and cruised to a 7-3 victory to even their record at 5-5.
An inexplicably dominant Alexei Ramirez scorched his second home run of the season, and added a two-run double to the right-center gap to chase Salazar with a 5-3 deficit in the fourth inning, when he still had more strikeouts than baserunners. Adam Eaton provided the only out Salazar didn't record by strikeout, and it came when he tried to stretch a game-tying single into a double. Even Adrian Nieto got a hit (he also struck out a lot).
When the Indians tried to squeeze out another inning out of lefty long reliever Josh Outman in the fifth, Abreu yanked another frisbee breaking ball out to left for his fourth home run of the week and second of the night. It would be his last hit of the evening but he picked up another RBI in the seventh when Eaton scored on a fielder's choice. Abreu has 14 of those now. It leads the league.
Meanwhile, John Danks — with not much more than 87-88 mph of life to him all night — settled down and started working an inside-outside game with his cutter and change-up. He scrabbled together three clean innings for the quality start (6 IP, 3ER, 2BB, 2K).
He had to pitch over a double and a single in the sixth, but they came off some of his best stuff of the night. Michael Brantley was so confused by the timing of Danks' change he stopped his swing with his barrel dangling over the plate and cued a corkscrew double down the the third base line. There's no hiding the diminished ability and the low margin for error he has to work with now, but when Danks is spotting and mixing like this, he's well within his limits.
Daniel Webb cured the bullpen woes with two perfect innings of relief, and Matt Lindstrom did little to ruin a non-save situation.
Team Record: 5-5
Next game is tomorrow at 7:10pm vs. the Indians