For a game that started as a blowout, ended as a blowout and felt like it was being completed out of obligation for all of its final hour and a half, it's surprising how many times the Sox came to bat with the opportunity to make it a game Friday night in Cleveland. It's a credit to the offense that reliably creates opportunities, that the Sox felt a few blown chances away in an otherwise hopeless and ugly 12-5 rout.
John Danks' stuff hasn't looked very impressive all season long, and opposing hitters are starting to agree. After a control-starved slog in his last start, the two walks Danks issued off the bat were just the start of his problems in a five-run first, and he could only take some mild satisfaction in wearing it over five innings. Danks allowed solo home runs on flat changeups to Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley while getting spanked for eight runs overall and boosting his season ERA to 5.00. He completed just a single 1-2-3 inning, and really provided no reasonable opportunity for the capable White Sox offense to climb back in it.
A comeback was plausible for a while. As bad as Danks pitching from behind with 87 mph heat was, Danny Salazar without a speck of fastball or slider command wasn't much better. He had to blow away Jose Abreu with big velocity and get a double play from Adam Dunn to escape a first-and-third with no outs situation in the first, but yielded three scores in the second when second basemen Elliot Johnson botched the first of two failed receptions of double play feeds from Asdrubal Cabrera,
The error allowed Dayan Viciedo to stay on board after a leadoff walk, and Alejandro De Aza plated him with a pretty inside-out single when Salazar tried to pound an inside fastball on his hands. Even Adrien Nieto pitched in his first RBI single after Salazar fell behind amid a night where he walked three over five innings, and De Aza scored when Salazar's wayward slider snuck by Yan Gomes
But the Sox helped Salazar out of far worse fate after he loaded the bases in the fourth with none retired. The big moment wound up finding the underqualified Nieto, who couldn't help chasing his way into a strikeout after getting a 3-0 count, and Adam Eaton re-aggravated his hamstring grounding into an inning-ending double play that ended the threat. Eaton is day-to-day.
A towering solo home run by Abreu, his 11th, was the only other tally added on Salazar. After he was pulled in the sixth, the Sox got one more chance to drag themselves back into the game with two outs against Brian Shaw. Shaw's wild pitch scored De Aza, brought the score back to 8-5 and Gordon Beckham briefly represented the tying run at the plate. Beckham smashed a grounder at Cabrera's hands and forced him to briefly bobble the handle, but not enough to change the Sox' fate.
The sixth inning reliever combination of Scott Downs and freshly-shaved Maikel Cleto uglied up the loss a bit late. A walk by Downs, an error on a failed scoop by Beckham and a wild pitch from Cleto made for a four-run sixth for Cleveland.
Cleto recovered to pitch a clean seventh, possibly forestalling a DFA for another day or so. Matt Lindstrom actually struck someone out in a scoreless eighth.
Team Record: 14-16
Next game is Saturday at 5:05pm CT in Cleveland on WGN
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