The Chicago White Sox appreciate talented left-handed starters Chris Sale and John Danks, and they treat them accordingly.
Danks gave manager Robin Ventura another quality start Friday night against the San Diego Padres, going seven innings while allowing two runs on eight hits. But the Padres got a two-run homer from Yonder Alonso in the eighth off reliever Javy Guerra and emerged with a 4-1 victory before a crowd of 25,342 at U.S. Cellular Field.
The Padres took a 1-0 lead in the third Friday when Cameron Maybin hit his first home run of the season. But Maybin cost his team a run in the fourth. With runners on first and second and one out, Alexei Ramirez hit a fly ball to Maybin in center. Maybin lowered his head after making the catch nonchalantly and Conor Gillaspie alertly dashed to third. With Marcus Semien at bat, Ian Kennedy (6 innings, one run, four hits, nine strikeouts) unleashed a wild pitch that allowed Gillaspie to score.
The Padres got a run back on Danks' two-out wild pitch in the fifth to make it 2-1.
"I felt pretty good. I felt like I could have thrown a little more first-pitch strikes," Danks said. "For the most part I was able to get the kind of contact I wanted. I obviously made some mistakes and got burned for them. But all in all it was a good day."
Kennedy was just too tough on the Sox offense.
"(Kennedy) mixes his stuff up and he hits his spots," Adam Eaton said. "He's too familiar with me. He just threw in on me the entire time."
Kennedy had all the answers when he needed them.
"We had some chances there and he threw some really good pitches to get out of it," Ventura said.
Sale, originally one of the names on the marquee for Monday night's game at the Dodgers to face Clayton Kershaw, has had his assignment date changed in the best interests of him and the White Sox.
Sale will start Sunday instead in the series finale against the Padres. Sale, who is 4-0 with a 1.73 ERA, last pitched Tuesday night against the Indians when he went three innings in a game rain interrupted. He threw 40 pitches in that second start since coming off the disabled list with a left flexor muscle injury.
"It's not like they are moving me up a day or anything like that," Sale said. "It just kind of makes sense to go out there Sunday after throwing three innings and being fresh."
Ventura says he is more interested in Sale's well-being for the long haul than lining up an All-Star duel.
"I know people would probably like to see that matchup, but we're thinking about it for us and him," Ventura said. "Get him back out there as quick as you can without rushing him."
Ventura has his team hovering around .500 despite dealing with injuries to key players Jose Abreu, Eaton, Gillaspie, Avisail Garcia, Nate Jones, Matt Lindstrom and Sale.
"You're encouraged because these guys come to compete," Ventura said. "It's not ... I don't know how much of a feather you put in your cap, just because guys have been hurt, but you do have guys who come in and do a good job. As far as the level of intensity and competitiveness ... you're pretty happy with where you're at."
Ventura credits Sale's success with having an overall positive impact on the entire starting staff.
"You get Chris back and you're obviously going to have that (ERA) shrink," Ventura said. "You're starting to see Hector (Noesi) go late into a game like he did the other night. You know, all of that has to kind of evolve. That number doesn't just go down by one guy. All of them have to be doing something."
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