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White Sox' Danks outstanding in return from disabled list

KANSAS CITY — Lost in the frustration of one of the White Sox toughest losses, a 2-1 defeat in 11 innings to the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night, was the encouraging pitching performance of left-hander John Danks.

Making his first start since June 25, when he strained an oblique muscle that put him on the disabled list, Danks pitched seven scoreless innings and left with a 1-0 lead but the bullpen couldn’t protect it in the eighth inning and the Royals won when Alex Gordon scored on a wild pitch by Sergio Santos in the 11th.

“It’s about winning ballgames,” Danks said. “It’s a tough loss, obviously. It was a well played game. There were some errors, and the last play obviously.”

Royals starter Bruce Chen was about as good, allowing one run over a season-high eight innings.

“If you look at Bruce Chen’s numbers, especially at home here, he’s been real good,” Danks said. “I knew I had to be close to perfect, at the end of the day it’s about wins and loses. Unfortunately we didn’t pull it off.”

Danks struck out six, walked one and gave up five hits. He threw 110 pitches on a night when the game-time temperature was 96 degrees. He was activated from the disabled list before the game.

“The first time out you dont know what to expect,” Danks said. “I had a lot of confidence coming in that I could get back on the roll I was on before I got hurt. Wasn’t exaactly where I wanted to be but all in all I am pleased with how I threw the ball.”

After starting the season with an 0-8 record and 5.25 ERA, Danks’ ERA is 0.88 over his last five starts. He is back and pitching like the guy many expected him to be — a potential staff ace.

“If you would have told me coming out of spring training this is where we would be I wouldn’t have believed you,” Danks said of the team’s 47-51 record that includes a 3-5 mark against the 40-58 Royals. “We haven’t played to expectations. We’ve played well enough to hang around but at the end of the day that doesn’t do you a whole lot of good.

“We’re in position to make a run we’re still in it but there’s only so much longer we can say that. We have to get on a roll, we know that. We have a big series with Cleveland [this weekend], we can make up a lot of ground. We still believe we can be the team to beat in the division but we have to start playing like that for sure.”