CHICAGO » John Danks seemed to be in a hurry. No time to waste on a muggy day, not after his Chicago White Sox teammates had played back-to-back rain-delayed games.
Danks got the ball, took the signs from catcher A.J. Pierzynski and then let it go. And for six innings, the Los Angeles Angels couldn’t hit what he delivered.
After losing his no-hit bid to start the seventh, Danks maintained his composure and finished with his first career shutout on a two-hitter as the surging White Sox beat the Angels 1-0, completing a four-game sweep and winning for the 22nd time in 27 games.
"On a day like today, you don’t want to be standing around out there, don’t want your defense standing around out there," Danks said after a game that lasted only 1 hour, 50 minutes on a muggy 79-degree day.
"I was just getting the ball and whatever he put down seemed to be the same pitch I wanted to throw. It just worked out that way."
Stepping up just a day after the White Sox learned they might be without ace Jake Peavy for the rest of the season, Danks, whose previous low-hit performance was a three-hitter last September against the Indians — his only other complete game — worked quickly and was in control of his pitches from the outset.
The sturdy lefty had no walks and seven strikeouts, winning a duel with the Angels’ Ervin Santana.
"My stuff was very good. Quick game, too," Santana said. "He was throwing strikes, I was throwing strikes. Whoever made the mistake wouldn’t win. … It was intense. Impressive."
Chicago got a run off Santana in the first as he hit leadoff batter Juan Pierre with a pitch, Alex Rios doubled to left and Paul Konerko delivered a sacrifice fly.
And then Danks made it stand up.
Reggie Willits grounded a single just underneath the reach of Chicago shortstop Alexei Ramirez to lead off the seventh for the first hit against Danks, who’d lost his previous two starts. Howie Kendrick then followed with a single up the middle and the Angels had their first threat of the game.
But Danks escaped, getting Torii Hunter on a fielder’s choice, Mike Napoli on a pop and then leaping high to snag Juan Rivera’s comebacker before throwing him out.
So when did Danks realize he was working on a no-hitter, which could have been the fifth in the majors this season?
"Fifth inning. Anyone who says they don’t think about it is a liar," Danks said. "You know immediately what is going on out there. Actually, as weird as it sounds, it was pretty fortunate that it was a 1-0 game because you can’t get ahead of yourself. The job at hand it still to win the game."