SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — There was a point Monday, perhaps midflight of Trevor Story’s towering home run off him, where John Danks’ mind quickly traveled to the parking lot.
“I was worried it might hit my rental car,” Danks joked.
Story’s 449-foot homer was the second of three consecutive Danks allowed in the third inning of an 11-7 White Sox victory over the Colorado Rockies. But the back-to-back-to-back homers — and the not-so-narrow miss with his car’s windshield — wasn’t what Danks took away from his final Cactus League start.
After he surrendered nearly 1,300 feet worth of homers, Danks settled down. He retired 12 of the last 13 batters he faced and gave his offense, which belted four more home runs, time to rally.
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Danks allowed four earned runs and eight hits with a walk and five strikeouts in six innings. He next pitches on Saturday in San Diego.
“I kind of felt myself falling back into some of my old tendencies,” Danks said. “It was a good opportunity, when the game starts speeding up on you and it’s not going well, to try to slow things down and get back to what we’re trying to do, and I was able to do that. I feel like a couple of those pitches — they were all homers, I’m not taking anything away — but a couple of those might have a better chance outside of Arizona. Finished strong, and kept handling what we had been working on.”
The White Sox don’t need Danks, who went 7-15 with a 4.71 ERA last season, to be outstanding. They need him to stay competitive, pitch deep into games and keep them within striking distance.
He has shown he can do that in three of four extended starts this spring. When he allowed a first-inning run Monday, Danks had a scoreless streak of 12 1/3 innings snapped.
Now, he needs to carry this success into April. He’d take the way he performed against Colorado, especially if he didn’t have to worry about any broken windshields.
“It’s just another work day,” Danks said. “I feel good about it. Obviously, I would like a couple of those pitches back in the third inning, but a good all-around (effort).”