OAKLAND — When the White Sox score four runs, they’ve been awfully hard to beat this season.
As their offense continues to heat up, the White Sox have recently found themselves in that position quite often. Avisail Garcia had three hits and John Danks pitched well after he yielded two early runs as the White Sox topped the Oakland A’s, 4-3, in front of 28,445 on Saturday. Danks (2-3) gave up two runs over seven innings and David Robertson notched a four-out save as the White Sox won their fourth straight game and for the eighth time in 11 tries to improve to 16-17.
The White Sox, who have won four straight series, are 15-3 when they score at least four runs, including 6-2 over the past eight games.
“We’re not an easy lineup top to bottom and we play hard and play until the last out,” Danks said. “If I can keep them there until the last out we have a decent chance. Fortunately things went our way, I was able to hold them there and we scored enough runs to win. Don’t like early holes, but a two-spot in the first is no need to panic with this team.”
Especially with how the offense has performed the past 12 games.
Entering Saturday, the White Sox had 57 runs in their previous 11 contests and were hitting .283/.349/.403.
Garcia made up for a second-inning baserunning error during a third-inning rally. With the bases loaded and two outs, Garcia fell behind Oakland starter Jesse Chavez 0-2 in the count before he worked it full and singled into center to drive in two and tie the game. An inning earlier, Garcia, who had doubled, ran through a stop sign at third base and was caught leaning on a Conor Gillaspie single. Garcia finished 3-for-3 and also drew a walk in four trips.
The White Sox took the lead after another mistake by the A’s in the seventh. Adam Eaton, who went 2-for-5, reached on a two-out bunt single and reliever Fernando Rodriguez’s throw soared over first base, which allowed the leadoff man to reach third. Melky Cabrera then singled him in and Jose Abreu, who has an 11-game hitting streak, followed with an RBI double to give the White Sox a 4-2 lead.
The White Sox — who averaged a shade over three runs a game in their first 20 contests — have outscored opponents 22-8 in the seventh inning.
“They continue to believe and I think that’s the biggest thing out of these guys,” manager Robin Ventura said. “They’re getting to be a confident group and going in there feeling like they can win some games.”
The way Danks has pitched the last two times out, and four of the last five, has to have the White Sox confident as well.
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He followed up Saturday’s gem with his fourth quality start in five games.
The left-hander’s night didn’t get off to a rousing start as he gave up two first-inning hits, including a two-run home run by Billy Butler. Danks also got into trouble in the second inning as Oakland got two aboard with one out. But Danks struck out Eric Sogard and got Billy Burns to pop out.
From there, Danks didn’t find trouble once as he limited the A’s to a pair of harmless walks. He retired the side in order in the third, fifth and seventh innings, setting down 17 of the final 19 batters he faced. Danks — who has a 3.81 ERA over his last five starts, allowed three hits — walked three and struck out six.
Zach Duke gave up a run in the eighth inning but rookie Carlos Sanchez turned a fantastic double play and Robertson took over after two straight two-out hits to retire Brett Lawrie on a fly out to center.
“We are in a great moment,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “I think this is just the beginning of the good things we have ahead. We have to keep on working hard and try to do the best every day, but I think right now, we are in a great, great moment with the offense.”