Danks' revival buried in crushing late-inning loss

We spent a month not talking about the foibles of the bullpen of a supposedly rebuilding team, but it looks like that's as far as we're going to get. One-year rental, potential trade chit and never-ever-intended closer Ronald Belisario, fresh off a promotion to the ninth inning after one of the best stretches of his career, is back to not being able to target his one pitch of note. Dealing out high sinkers like they were currency in the last days of the Weimar Republic, Belisario was tagged for three runs in the ninth--crucial, as the Sox were up 3-0--the last of which came on a dinky Brian McCann bloop single just to let everyone know that it was fate, all along.

Zach Putnam, also on a roll of recent and apparently needing to be taken down a peg, was taken deep by Jacoby Ellsbury for the eventual game-winner in the 10th, and the Yankees held on 4-3 when David Robertson found Gordon Beckham to be a better person to whizz a two-strike fastball by with tying run on base than Adam Dunn. Beckham had actually been 3-3 for the day previously, but again, it was all about taking people down a peg. Arguably that had already happened for Beckham, since he'd been ordered to bunt Adam Eaton over to second with no one out in the eighth.

It's probably not quite fair to say that everyone critical of John Danks' recent performance had "given up" on him as a pitcher, but there was definitely some measure of being resigned about his reduced abilities. Meanwhile, Danks' proponents were stressing that everything could come around if he just straightened up his mechanics and throw strikes. A point for those folks was scored on this day. On the other hand, his ERA is 4.90 after eight shutout innings.

Pounding the zone with his mediocre velocity lent some much-needed gristle to Danks' wipeout changeup. Generating confused swings all day, Danks cruised through seven innings, only allowing a single baserunner. He hit a bit of a wall in eighth, and threatened to ruin his pristine afternoon with a pair of two-out singles, but got a flyout from Brent Gardner in order to turnover a 3-0 lead to his closer after his best start possibly since the injury. Oh well.

The Sox looked ready to pounce all over soft-tossing, round-faced lefty Vidal Nuno early on. The first three Sox batters of the game reached base, and Dayan Viciedo opened the scoring by crushing an RBI double to the left-center gap. After his blast put himself and Gordon Beckham in scoring position, they manufactured two more tallies with productive outs from Adam Dunn and Alexei Ramirez.

The second inning also started promising, with Marcus Semien and Adrien Nieto collecting back-to-back singles, except Nieto's hit was only a single when he was ruled out trying to advance to second on a controversial call. Umpires ruled he left the baseline to avoid a tag from Brendan Ryan, despite Ryan not having the ball in his glove. Robin Ventura blew a gasket in memorable fashion and got tossed, and the offense left with him, as Nuno skirted over nine hits to last seven innings without another run scored.


Box Score

Team Record: 25-26

Next Game: Tomorrow at 1:10 p.m. CT vs. New York on CSN Chicago


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