The scuffling White Sox, losers of four-straight and seven of nine, welcomed the best team in baseball Tuesday, who would start former NL Cy Young winner Matt Cain against surgically-repaired John Danks. Hunter Pence clobbered the fourth pitch of the night for a home run, and he sense of an oncoming butt-whupping was palpable, we got one.
The White Sox peppered Cain with accelerating intensity his second time through the order, beginning with a two-out Gordon Beckham line-shot dinger to erase a 2-0 Giants lead, continuing with the Sox nipping Cain on costly bloops, walks and errors, and ending in indignity as Dayan Viciedo wrapped the fading titan's night by golfing a flat changeup to seal an authoritative 8-2 rout.
After an Alexei Ramirez error led to a Buster Posey RBI single in the third and threatened to break open the game, the Giants' 2-0 lead felt like it could have been larger. They seemed to be cruising despite the missed opportunity, and Adam Eaton's two-out slap single and stolen bases was the only thing resembling a credible Sox threat until Beckahm took a short-and-quick cut on a 3-2 get-me-over to spray it into the left field bleachers. With nothing to show for three dominant innings, the Giants quickly withered away.
Three Cuban singles in the fourth, the last two were weak flares to left from Alexei Ramirez and Viciedo, loaded the bases with two outs, but for the Tyler Flowers and his 0-23 slump. Despite his troubles, Cain couldn't find the zone enough to force Flowers' bat into action, and walked in the go-ahead run with a 3-2 pitched that tailed too far inside. With Eaton trailing Flowers, Cain got burned on his third bout of weak contact of the inning, as Eaton's dribbler forced a rushed and off-line throw from Brandon Crawford, clearing the bases and staking Danks to a 5-2 lead.
it quickly ballooned with more legitimate entries. Conor Gillaspie led off the fifth with his second sharp single of the night, scored when Adam Dunn lined a two-strike shot of his own through the shift, and barely had time to sip a water in the dugout before Viciedo was scraping some deep blue off the sky with a moonshot to left.
Danks got himself through another 6.1 innings of decidedly low-pressure work for his fifth-straight high-quality start. The control was worse Tuesday night (three walks), he's not striking anyone out (four), he's not particularly dedicated to keep the ball on the ground, and he threw at least one should-have-been three-run homer to Pablo Sandoval, but the early returns from his mechanical adjustments are the extra bit of command he needed to escape regular punishment.
The onus is on Danks to prove that he can succeed with these tools, and that case is built night-by-night. Tuesday night was a mark in his favor.
Team Record: 34-37
Next Game: Wednesday at 1:10 p.m. CT vs. San Francisco on WGN
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