Rays shut out White Sox as John Danks struggles

Written By BY BRIAN SANDALOW For Sun-Times Media Posted: 04/26/2014, 10:00pm
Array Tampa Bay Rays' Evan Longoria, center, celebrates with Ben Zobrist, left, and James Loney after they defeated the Chicago White Sox 4-0 in a baseball game in Chicago, Saturday, April 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

There wasn’t any drama from the White Sox on Saturday night.

There wasn’t much offense, either.

Cesar Ramos threw five scoreless innings, reliever Brandon Gomes had three more and the Rays beat the Sox 4-0, handing the Sox their second shutout of the year.

One night after their dramatic 9-6 victory on Jose Abreu’s walk-off grand slam, the Sox had five hits and were stymied by a pitcher making his third start of the season. Ramos is in the rotation because of Matt Moore’s Tommy John surgery.

It was a far cry from what the Sox’ offense has been doing recently. Entering Saturday, the Sox were hitting .312 with 44 runs in their last six games.

They couldn’t support John Danks, who was the latest Sox pitcher with control problems.

Danks (2-1) walked four batters — his third outing with that many this year — and suffered his first loss. As a team, the Sox started the day having walked a major-league high 114 batters, including 11 free passes Friday.

Perhaps somewhat encouragingly, Danks’ four walks were the only ones given out by the Sox.

“There’s a combination of command issues and just maybe pitch selection in certain counts, guys trying to get guys to swing and miss instead of just letting them put it in play,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said before the game. “You know last year, I would have understood that the way we played defense, but this year we’ve been playing with a better defense, and I think you can pitch into the zone to have [them] hit it.”

Danks went 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs and throwing a career-high 123 pitches. That’s about what the Sox were expecting from Danks one night after they used their bullpen for 7 1/3 innings.

“I expect John to go six or seven. He’s been pitching well enough, so we’ll find out,” Ventura said. “If the same thing happens as last night, we’re going to have to figure out something to do. But I don’t expect John to do that.”

Danks did fall behind early. The Rays took a 2-0 lead in the second on Ryan Hanigan’s two-run double. They added to the lead with James Loney’s RBI single in the third and knocked out Danks in the sixth on Desmond Jennings’ run-scoring triple.

Danks was replaced by Hector Noesi, who pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings in his Sox debut.

The Sox’ best chance was in the fifth. Alejandro De Aza led off with a walk, and Gordon Beckham singled. Adrian Nieto’s sacrifice advanced both, and after Adam Eaton grounded back to Ramos, Marcus Semien walked to load the bases for Abreu.

But unlike Friday, Abreu grounded out to third to end the inning.

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