LOS ANGELES (AP) — John Danks may have solved his problems away from home.
The left-hander and three relievers combined on a two-hitter, Leury Garcia hit his first major league home run and the Chicago White Sox beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1 on Wednesday in the rubber game of a three-game series.
Danks (4-5) allowed only two hits and one run and struck out five in 7 1-3 inning for his first road win in more than six weeks. He entered the game 1-3 with a 6.83 ERA in five road starts this season.
“We’ve done a lot of mechanical changes and a lot of work on the side in between starts,” he said. “Just been trying to stay behind the ball and keep my lanes. I was falling off and it was causing me to lose velocity and lose location, a bad combination.
“I’ve got to keep working on it, but I’m feeling good and I feel like I’m on a bit of a roll right now.”
He also had an infield single in the sixth inning, his second hit in 28 career plate appearances.
“Even a blind squirrel finds a nut,” he chuckled. “That’s pure luck right there.”
Dee Gordon led off the first with a bunt single, but Danks didn’t allow another hit until the eighth, when Gordon doubled down the left field line to end his night.
Danks threw 107 pitches and didn’t allow a baserunner past second base. He walked three and hit two batters, but worked around those miscues.
“I felt like I was able to make a pitch when I needed to,” he said. “It wasn’t as sharp as I’d like but I guess you can call it effectively wild.”
A pair of longballs helped put him in position for the win.
Garcia was homerless in his first 74 career games, but ended that drought in impressive fashion. The 23-year old Dominican belted a first-pitch fastball from Josh Beckett deep over the center field fence, an estimated 400 feet, to stake Chicago to a 1-0 lead.
“He has power, it’s just more of his game is hitting on the ground,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He hit it at the right time of day that’s for sure. Ball carries earlier here, if it was later in the night it may not have gone out.”
Adam Dunn followed Garcia the next inning, hitting a 2-2 cutter into the right field stands for his ninth homer of the season.
The Dodgers were able to get on the scoreboard once Danks left the game. Reliever Zach Putnam entered after Gordon’s double, and walked Yasiel Puig. Gordon came home on a Hanley Ramirez fielder’s choice. Scott Downs then entered and induced Adrian Gonzalez to ground out to end the threat.
Chicago closer Ronald Belisario slammed the door on his former team in the ninth, retiring the side in order for his fifth save and sending the Dodgers to their sixth loss in eight games.
“I really think you should talk to (the players), I’m tired of answering questions honestly,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “We’re just not that good. We’re just not getting it done.”
Beckett (3-3) delivered a quality start but suffered his second consecutive loss since throwing a no-hitter against Philadelphia on May 25. The right-hander went six innings and allowed two runs and nine hits, walked two and struck out six.
Relievers Brandon League, Brian Wilson and Jamey Wright each threw a scoreless inning of relief, but the strong pitching wasn’t enough for the Dodgers with Danks at his best.
Notes: A moment of silence was held before the game for Don Zimmer, who passed away Wednesday at the age of 83. Zimmer played for the Dodgers from 1954-59 and in 1963… Injured Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford went through a full pre-game workout that included batting practice. He is on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left ankle and is eligible to be activated May 12 … Beckett reached 2,000 career innings after completing the fourth inning … Ventura successfully challenged a call at third base in the bottom fourth, overturning an earlier safe call and ending the inning. Ventura is now 4 for 11 on challenges this season.
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